India’s national wrestling championships postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic

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With the fast growth of the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s Wrestling Federation has changed the national championships, which originally schedule to take place in December, to January 2021.

India’s national wrestling championships, originally scheduled on December 18-20, have been postponed to January next year by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) because of the world health crisis.

Vinod Tomar, WFI assistant secretary, told that the situation was not ideal and it was impossible to conduct nationals. They would try to host the championships towards the end of January, 2021.  

The health crisis wave has also struck the country’s wrestling community, with men’s grapplers Gurpreet Singh and Narsingh Yadav testing positive for the disease earlier this week. Women’s wrestler Divya Kakran has also got a positive coronavirus test.

The championships were originally planned to take place in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, but Tomar revealed that the WFI will consider a change of venue if other states are interested in hosting the event.

With the Individual World Cup (IWC) scheduled to start on December 12 in Belgrade, Siberia, Tomar confirmed that India will still send a contingent for the competition. However, there will be no trials conducted for the event.

He added that they decided against hosting the trials as well as sent the same athletes who competed in the Asian Championship having taken place in New Delhi in February.

Some big names will not join the Indian wrestling team to Belgrade, such as Sombir Rathi (92Kg), Jitender Kumar (74Kg), and Vinesh Phogat (53Kg), who were asked to be exempted from the tournament.

Tokyo-bound wrestler Bajrang Punia (65Kg) will also miss the tournament due to taking part in a training camp in the US.

Punia will travel to America with his coach Emzarios Bentinidis for the camp from December 4 to January 3 at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club, Michigan, where he will train under two-time Olympic champion Sergei Beloglazov along with other top international wrestlers.