The Sports Authority of India (SAI), on Friday, announced that India’s foreign Greco-Roman wrestling coach Temo Kasarashvili has been relieved of his duties. The decision came after no Indian Greco-Roman grappler succeeded in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.
Georgia’s Temo Kasarashvili, a former two-time world champion, was appointed in February 2019 and his tenure was set to conclude after the Tokyo Olympics.
The Georgian made a good start at the 2019 Asian wrestling championships in China, leading Indian wrestlers to three silver medals and a bronze.
At the 2020 Asian championships in New Delhi, Kasarashvili guided India to a gold and four bronze medals – the country’s best-ever haul in the Greco-Roman category in the competition.
However, Temo Kasarashvili’s Greco-Roman squad did not impress at Tokyo Olympic qualifying events, failing to secure any berths from the 2019 world championships as well as the Asian qualifiers in 2021.
The Greco-Roman wrestlers also drew a blank at the 2021 Asian championships in Almaty.
At the world qualifiers in Sofia, Bulgaria – the final qualifying event for Tokyo – the Indian Greco-Roman challenge finally fizzled out.
Anshu (67kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg) and Deepanshu (97kg) lost in the opening round. Sachin Rana (60kg) was forced to pull out due to illness while Naveen Kumar (130kg) couldn’t compete after testing COVID-19 positive before his opening bout.
“We had hired him specifically for the Olympics but there was no result. His contract was till August this year but since there is no national camp what he would have done now when all the focus is on Tokyo Games, so we told SAI that his services are not required,” Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI
Eight Indian freestyle wrestlers have made the Tokyo cut. Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) in men’s category and Seema Bisla (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sonam Malik (62kg) in women’s divisions have qualified.