National wrestling camps for Tokyo Olympics hopefuls to begin on 1 September, announces SAI

The national wrestling camps for Tokyo Olympics hopefuls will commence from 1 September, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) confirmed on Saturday.

While the month-long camp for the male grapplers will be held at SAI Sonepat, the women will train at the nodal sports body’s Lucknow centre.

“The decision to commence the camp has been taken to ensure that those athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics and those who can still qualify for the Olympics, can begin on-field training,” the SAI said in a release.

Both the camps will conclude on 30 September.

A total of 26 wrestlers in eight weight categories — five freestyle (57, 65, 74, 86, 125 kg) and three greco-Roman (60, 77, 87 kg), as well as six support staff will be part of the men’s camp.

The women’s camp will witness participation from 15 wrestlers in five weight categories (50, 53, 57, 62, 68 kg), besides the presence of four support staff.

Prominent wrestlers who will take part in the camps are Ravi Kumar, Bajrang Punia, Narsingh Yadav, Deepak Punia, Sumit, Gyanender, Sajan, Sunil Kumar, Nirmala Devi, Vinesh Phogat, Pooja Dhanda, Sakshi Malik and Divya Kakran.

“The athletes, coaches and support staff joining SAI Sonepat and SAI Lucknow will have to undergo mandatory COVID test upon arrival at the camp and resume training after a 14-day quarantine period.

“The COVID-19 guidelines of the Government of India, state government and the SAI SOP will be adhered to strictly.”

Currently four wrestlers — Vinesh (women’s 53 kg), Bajrang (men’s 65 kg freestyle), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (men’s 57 kg freestyle) and Deepak (men’s 86 kg freestyle) — have qualified for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to be held next year.

There are 18 Olympic categories and wrestlers still have the opportunity to win quota places at the Asian Qualifiers and World Qualifiers next year.

Like other sporting disciplines, the wrestling camps for both men and women were suspended in March due to the pandemic.

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