Asian wrestling: Stiff test awaits Tokyo-bound Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, watch live action

The Asian championships will be Rio Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik’s first international tournament of the year.

By Naveen Peter

India’s Olympic-bound wrestlers will get a taste of some solid competition when the Asian Wrestling Championships get underway at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Culture and Sports in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

The central Asian country has been like a wrestling hotspot in recent times with many sealing quota places for Tokyo 2020 via the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

For India, youngsters Sonam Malik and Anshu Malik were among the quota winners. They joined Vinesh Phogat (women, 53kg), and freestyle wrestlers Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg) Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg), who had already made the Tokyo 2020 cut.

The Indian wrestlers will be looking at the Asian meet as a platform to test themselves with the best in the continent ahead of the Summer Games.

The Indian wrestling team comprises 30 members, 10 each in freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling.

For Bajrang Punia, one of India’s leading medal hopefuls in Tokyo, the Asian championships will be an opportunity to assess his progress against bete noire Takuto Otoguro. The Japanese has a 2-0 win/loss record against him.

The Japanese sensation has had Bajrang Punia in some trouble in the past with the Indian admitting that he was paying close attention to the learnings from those fights.

Meanwhile, Vinesh Phogat’s hopes of testing herself against the two-time world champion Mayu Mukaida will have to wait after the Japanese women’s team was forced to withdraw from the competition following suspected contact with COVID-19.

The bronze medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics Sakshi Malik will be in action in the 65kg weight division, a non-Olympic weight category. It will be her first international tournament of the year.

Sakshi’s rival Sonam Malik, who will represent India at the Olympics in the 62kg, has pulled out due to the knee injury she suffered at the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

Indian wrestling team for Asian wrestling championships

Freestyle: Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Ravinder (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Karan (70kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (74kg), Narsingh Yadav (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sumit Malik (125kg)

Greco-Roman: Sandeep (55kg), Gyaneder (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Ashu (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Ravi (97kg), Naveen (130kg)

Women's wrestling: Seema (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Pinki (55kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Sakshi Malik (65kg), Nisha Dahiya (68kg), Divya Kakran (72kg), Pooja Sihag (76kg)

Asian wrestling championships 2021 schedule and live India start times

(GR = Greco-Roman, WW = Women’s Wrestling, FS = Freestyle Wrestling)

All times are Indian Standard Time (IST)

Tuesday, April 13

Qualification and repechage rounds (GR – 55, 63, 77, 87, 130kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (GR – 55, 63, 77, 87, 130kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Wednesday, April 14

Qualification and repechage rounds (GR – 60, 67, 72, 82, 97kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (GR – 60, 67, 72, 82, 97kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Thursday, April 15

Qualification and repechage rounds (WW – 50, 55, 59, 68, 76kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (WW – 50, 55, 59, 68, 76kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Friday, April 16

Qualification and repechage rounds (WW – 53, 57, 62, 65, 72kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (WW – 53, 57, 62, 65, 72kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Saturday, April 17

Qualification and repechage rounds (FS – 57 ,65, 70, 79, 97kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (FS – 57 ,65, 70, 79, 97kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Sunday, April 18

Qualification and repechage rounds (FS – 61, 74, 86, 92, 125kg) - 11:00 AM IST - 2:00 PM IST

Finals (FS – 61, 74, 86, 92, 125kg) - 5:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST

Where to watch the Asian wrestling championships live in India?

Live streaming of the Asian wrestling championships in India will be available on wrestlingtv.in.

There will be no telecast of the event on any TV channel in India.