Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia’s decision to temporarily quit social media leading up to the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series 2021, which starts from March 4 in Rome, hardly comes across as a surprise.
Bajrang Punia, in his Twitter post on Monday, cited that concentrating on the Tokyo Olympics without any distractions was what made up his decision.
It’s hardly new for athletes to go on social media detox before big events. Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra did the same last year before the Olympics got postponed due to COVID-19.
The timing of Bajrang Punia’s self-enforced social media isolation, however, underlines the importance of the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series. It is set to be one of the biggest events for the grapplers to prepare for the upcoming Summer Games in July.
Around 360 wrestlers from 32 different countries are participating in the event, making it an assembly of some of the top names from around the globe,
India, too, have named a strong contingent for the event, featuring Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Deepak Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Sonam Malik and others.
Tokyo-bound Vinesh Phogat, who recently marked a winning return to wrestling post COVID with a gold medal at the Ukraine Memorial, was in the initial entry list.
While the likes of Deepak, Bajrang, Dahiya and Vinesh (if she participates), who have already qualified for Tokyo, will look to finetune their preparations in Rome, other Indians will look to ready themselves for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.
Wrestlers who are yet to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will get two more opportunities to book their berth. The first will be at the Asian championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan from April 9 to 11.
They will also get one last chance at the world Olympic qualifiers which will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from May 6 to 9.
The last edition of the event in 2020 was a happy hunting ground for Indian wrestlers, with Bajrang, Dahiya, Gurpreet Singh and Vinesh winning gold medals in their respective events.
Matteo Pellicone 2021 schedule and India start times
Thursday, March 4
Greco Roman qualification rounds and repechage: 55-60-63-67-87-97-130kg - 3:00 PM IST
Greco Roman finals: 55-60-63-67-87-97-130kg - 10:30 PM IST
Friday, March 5
Greco Roman qualification rounds and repechage: 72-77-82kg - 3:00 PM IST
Women’s freestyle qualification rounds and repechage: 57-62-68-76kg - 3:00 PM IST
Greco Roman finals: 72-77-82kg - 10:30 PM IST
Women’s freestyle finals: 57-62-68-76kg - 10:30 PM IST
Saturday, March 6
Men’s freestyle qualification rounds and repechage: 97-125kg - 3:00 PM IST
Women’s freestyle qualification rounds and repechage: 50-53-55-59-65-72kg - 3:00 PM IST
Men’s freestyle finals: 97-125kg - 10:30 PM IST
Women’s freestyle finals: 50-53-55-59-65-72kg - 10:30 PM IST
Sunday, March 7
Men’s freestyle qualification rounds and repechage: 57-61-65-70-74-79-86-92kg - 3:00 PM IST
Men’s freestyle finals: 57-61-65-70-74-79-86-92kg - 10:30 PM IST
Indian wrestling team for Matteo Pellicone Rome Rankings Series 2021
Pankaj (57kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (61kg), Suraj Sanju Annikeri (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Rohit (65kg), Vishal Kaliraman (70kg), Narsingh Yadav (74kg), Jitender (74kg), Sandeep Singh Mann (74kg), Rahul Rathi (79kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Parveen Chahar (86kg), Praveen (92kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sumit Malik (125kg)
Arjun Halakurki (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Sachin Rana (63kg), Neeraj (63kg), Ashu (67kg), Gaurav Duhoon (67kg), Amit (72kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Deepanshu (97kg), Naveen (130kg)
Women’s freestyle wrestling
Meenakshi (50kg), Divya Kakran (53kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Nandini Bajirao Salokhe (53kg), Anju (57kg), Anshu Malik (59kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Nisha (65kg), Anita (68kg), Kiran (76kg)
Where to watch Matteo Pellicone wrestling live in India?
Live streaming of Matteo Pellicone 2021 Ranking Series will be available on wrestlingtv.in in India.