Geeta Phogat training for national wrestling trials for Olympic qualifiers

The 2010 Commonwealth Games champion will feature in a three-way contest in the 62kg category that will also see Sakshi Malik in action.

By Naveen Peter

Indian wrestling legend Geeta Phogat is likely to take part in the national trials to select the women’s team for the upcoming Asian Olympic qualifiers next month.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) confirmed that trials will be held on March 22 at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Lucknow with spots up for grabs in all but the 53kg category of Olympic wrestling.

“All the wrestlers who are in the camp will compete. Besides them, those who wish to compete in the trials need to send their request to WFI,” Vinod Tomar, WFI assistant secretary, told WrestlingTV.

Despite a below-par show at the senior national championships earlier this year, Asian champion Divya Kakran has been listed in the 68kg category. National champion Sonam Malik, Sakshi Malik and Geeta Phogat — if she finally competes — will feature in the 62kg weight division.

Sonam Malik, who has emerged as a strong contender in the highly-competitive 62kg category, began her Olympic year with a title win at the national meet. Later, the 18-year-old was forced to pull out of the Matteo Pellicone Memorial meet in Rome due to an injury

The 32-year-old Geeta Phogat, who became a mother in December 2019, is eyeing a comeback. She has joined the national camp hoping to make another Olympics. 

Geeta is India’s first female wrestler to qualify for the Summer Games in London 2012. She was the first Indian woman to win an international wrestling gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The Olympic bronze medallist from Rio 2016, Sakshi Malik, however, has had a forgetful few months. After a loss in the final of the senior nationals, the Indian wrestler pulled out of the Matteo Pellicone meet. 

Meanwhile, the men’s team for the Asian Olympic qualifiers has been confirmed following their national trials on Tuesday.

National champion Sandeep Singh Mann will lead the charge in the 74kg freestyle category with Satyawart Kadian and Sumit Malik making the team in the 97kg and the 135kg weight divisions.