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It was in the 1986 Asian Games at Seoul when Kartar Singh beat Pakistan’s Shahid Pervaiz Butt in 100 kg category to claim the yellow metal. It was the last time an Indian grappler had won gold in the Asian Games.
Twenty-eight years hence, the wrestling contingent will be looking to break the jinx.
The wrestling squad -7 freestyle, 7 Greco-Roman and 4 women will be without two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar who pulled out due to a shoulder injury and lack of preparation.
In his absence, the London Olympics bronze medalist and Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold winner Yogeshwar Dutt will spearhead the Indian challenge in Incheon.
“We have trained very well. Sushil ki kami Khaleesi (The squad will miss Sushil’s presence). But we are still expecting around four to five medals in freestyle and this includes some gold medals too. In wrestling, an Asian Games medal is like winning the World Championship,” the confident Yogeshwar said.
India’s performance dropped from six medals (1 silver and 5 bronze) in the 2006 Asiad in Doha to only three bronze medals in 2010. But this time around, the squad promises to surpass expectations.
Young Amit Kumar, who won gold in the Glasgow Commonwealth Gaines and bronze in the World Championship, is one of the leading contenders for gold in the 57 kg category. World No. 1 Hassan Rahimi of Iran is likely to pose a tough challenge for the Indian, who is ranked second in the world.
World No. 5 Narsingh Yadav will fill in for Sushil in the 74 kg category while World Junior medallist Praveen Rana (70 kg), who also won a gold in Colorado Springs, US, early this year, will look to impress. The 70 kg category is being introduced for the first time after the International Wrestling Federation introduced new rules and tweaked weight categories late last year in an attempt to make the sport more exciting.
Glasgow CWG silver medallist Bajrang Punia (61 kg), bronze medallist Pawan Kumar (86 kg) and silver medallist Satayavrat Kadiyan (97 kg) complete the line-up in the freestyle category.
There will be no participation in the 125 kg category. The Indians are likely to face a stiff challenge from South Korea, Mongolia, Iraq, Japan and Kazakhstan.
“This team is better than the team that participated in Guangzhou in 2010. Yogeshwar and Amit are contenders for gold while Bajrang, Praveen and Narsingh have the capability to contribute to India’s medal haul,” coach Yashvir summed it up.
In the Greco-Roman, India, traditionally a force at the Asian level, are likely to return with a rich medal haul. The squad includes five-time Commonwealth champion and Asian Games bronze medalist Ravinder, Asian champion Krishan Kumar Yadav, World Championship bronze winner Sandeep Yadav, Asian Championship bronze medalist Manoj Kumar and, Arjuna Awardee Dharmender Dalai.
1. When did an Indian grappler win gold in the Asian games last time?
2. What has the wrestling contingent been looking forward to during these 28 years?
3. Name the Olympic medalist who has pulled out of the games due to a shoulder injury.
4. Who will spearhead the Indian challenge in wrestling in Incheon?
5. What is winning an Asian games medal in wrestling like?
6. How did India perform in 2010 in New Delhi?
7. Who will fill in for Sushil in the 74 kg category at the Asian games?
8. Name the countries that will throw a stiff challenge to Indian wrestlers in Incheon.
1. It was in 1986 Asian games at Seoul when the Indian wrestler Kartar Singh won the gold medal last time.
2. During these 28 years, the wrestling contingent has been looking forward to breaking the jinx.
3. Sushil-Kumar, the two-time Olympic medalist, has pulled out of the Asian Games 2014 due to a shoulder injury.
4. Yogeshwar Dutt, who3 won the bronze at the London Olympics will spearhead the Indian challenge in wrestling in Incheon.
5. Winning an Asian Games medal in wrestling is like winning the world championship.
6. India’s performance dropped from six medals in Doha to only three bronzes in 2010 Asian Games.
7. Narsingh Yadav, World No. 5, will fill in for Sushil in the 74 kg category.
8. South Korea, Mongolia, Iraq, Japan and Kazakhstan will throw a stiff challenge to Indian wrestlers in Incheon.
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