Commonwealth Games: Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia make Indian wrestling team

Tokyo Olympian Deepak Punia also made the cut through the men’s freestyle trials in the 86kg final.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 medallists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya made it into the Indian men’s wrestling team for the Commonwealth Games 2022 by winning their respective weight categories at the national selection trials held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Unlike at the trials for the Asian championships in March, when the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had allowed Tokyo Olympians, including Deepak Punia, to directly start from the finals, the top Indian wrestlers had to compete from the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, competing in his pet freestyle 65kg category, defeated Sujeet in the semi-finals before overcoming Vishal 2-1 in a hard-fought final.

“This is my third Commonwealth Games. I'll try to win a gold medal for the country. I'll work hard for it. All athletes have prepared well, I hope that we all perform very well because our performance has been good,” Bajrang Punia told ANI.

Tokyo silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya, meanwhile, was his dominant self during his 10-0 win over Aman in the 57kg final. The Tokyo Olympic silver medallist got the better of Vijay Patil in the semi-finals.

Deepak Punia also breezed past Sanjeet with a 6-0 win in the 86kg summit clash after winning against Vicky in the semis.

Naveen (74kg), Deepak (97kg) and Mohit Grewal (125kg) were the other wrestlers who made the Indian men’s freestyle wrestling team for the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Naveen got past Asian silver medallist Jitender Kumar and U-17 world champion Sagar Jaglan before beating another Asian silver medallist Gourav Baliyan 12-2 in the final to clinch the 74kg spot.

World junior bronze medallist Deepak, meanwhile, got the better of Satyawart Kadian, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist and husband of Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, in the semi-finals. He blanked Sahil 10-0 in the final to win the 97kg trials.

Mohit Grewal came from behind to beat Satyender Malik 3-3 on the virtue of scoring the last point in the 125kg final.

The trials for the Indian women’s wrestling team were held on Monday. Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat made the cut for the Commonwealth Games.

At the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Indian wrestlers had clinched five gold, three silver and four bronze medals - the best tally by any country’s wrestlers.

Indian men’s wrestling team for Commonwealth Games 2022

Freestyle: Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Naveen (74kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Deepak (97kg), Mohit Grewal (125kg)

To know who made it to the Indian women’s wrestling team for Commonwealth Games 2022, click here.

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