Wrestling has been India’s go-to discipline for Olympic medals with the sport delivering in each of the last three Games.
The Indian wrestling campaign didn’t start on the most promising note in Tokyo with Sonam Malik getting knocked out in the round of 16.
However, there are enough reasons to be optimistic about the rest of the Indian contingent especially after the draws were announced for three weight categories across men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling.
Tokyo 2020, Indian wrestling preview: Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia lead medal bids of promising team
Ravi Dahiya (men’s 57kg, 4th seed) and Deepak Punia (men’s 86kg, 2nd seed) have a great chance of at least making the semi-final after they were handed relatively easy draws. Anshu Malik though will have it slightly tough as she faces third-seeded Iryna Kurachkina in her women’s 57kg first round.
Ravi opens his 57kg campaign in the Tokyo Olympics against Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano. If Ravi, the 2019 World Championship bronze medallist and reigning Asian champion, wins his opener against the Colombian then he will take on either Algeria’s Abdelhak Kherabache or Georgi Valentinov Vangelov from Bulgaria. In the semifinals, he is likely to face either Serbian top seed Stevan Andria Micic or Japan’s Yuki Takahashi, after they were drawn to meet in the opening round.
In the men’s freestyle 86kg, Deepak Punia is pitted against Nigeria’’s Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist. If the 2019 worlds silver medallist wins, he will be up against either China’’s Zushen Lin or Peru’’s Edinson Ambrocio Greifo, the 2020 Pan American silver winner.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Anshu has got a difficult opener as she has drawn European champion.
Here are the draws for Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia and Anshu Malik. The draws for Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Seema Bisla will be announced in due course. Provided she wins, next up for her would be either Rio Olympics silver medallist from Russia, Valeria Koblova, or Mexico’s Alma Jane