Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wrestlers will find the going tough in Asiad

Despite a windfall of medals at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, the Indian wrestling contingent will go into its next big assignment with relatively modest expectations.
Steel minister Virbharda Singh (left) felicitates Sushil Kumar (right) and shooter Deepak Sharma in New Delhi on Monday.
Indian grapplers dominated the mats on home turf, winning as many as 10 gold medals along with five silver and four bronze. But the team management is realistic in face of the tough competition they will face at the Asian Games starting in Guangzhou, China, on November 12.
"We are confident of winning three or four medals," Yashvir Singh, coach of world champion Sushil Kumar, told Mail Today on Monday.
He, however, declined to predict if there will be any gold medals for India in wrestling.
Yashvir was recently named 'Coach of the Year 2010' by the International Wrestling Federation after he guided Sushil to the gold medal at the world championship in Moscow last month.
He is aware of the tough challenge posed by wrestlers from Iran, Japan, Mongolia and Central Asian republics at continental meets.
Sushil will not be competing in Guangzhou as he is recuperating from shoulder, neck and arm injuries.
"He got injured at the world championship and aggravated it at the Commonwealth Games," his coach said.
The wrestler himself was not sure when he will be back in action.
"The doctors at the Sports Authority of India are handling the case. The report will come in the next few days after which we will know the extent of the damage," Sushil said. "I will go by what the doctors advise me." Yashvir said the injury was not likely to pose any long-term damage to his ward. "Most probably, Sushil will be out of action for two-three months. After missing the Asian Games, his next target will be the 2011 world championship to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, next September," he said.
Being the world champion, Sushil would have been the favourite in his weight category at the Asian Games. Hence, India is likely to miss out on a gold medal in Guangzhou.
Also, Alka Tomar, who won the gold medal in the 59kg category at the Commonwealth Games, is also not going to China.
"Her weight category was not included at the Asian Games. She tried her hand in the 63kg section but lost to Suman Kundu in the trials," Yashvir said.
Suman had clinched the bronze medal in that weight category at the Delhi Games.
Despite the absence of two top wrestlers, Yashvir was confident of India producing a good show.
"We have Yogeshwar Dutt, who won the gold medal in the 60kg category at the Commonwealth Games and has made a strong comeback from a career-threatening knee injury, as well as Narsingh Pancham Yadav, who won the gold at the Delhi Games as well as the Asian Championship earlier this year," he said.
"As far as the Japanese and Iranian wrestlers are concerned, we have faced them before and beaten them as well." The wrestling camp for the Asian Games starts in Sonepat on Tuesday.
Sushil, Yogeshwar and shooter Deepak Sharma, who won a silver medal in the 50m free pistol pairs event, were felicitated by Steel Authority of India Limited on Monday.
Steel minister Virbhadra Singh announced a cash prize of Rs five lakh for the two gold medallists, and Rs three lakh for Sharma, who came second in his event in partnership with Omkar Singh, behind Singapore's Bin Gai and Swee Hon Lim.
"I am happy with the silver medal but will have to improve if I want to make a mark at the Asian Games," Sharma told Mail Today. "It will be tougher in Guangzhou," he said. "China, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan and the Middle-East have some of the best shooters in the business." The shooters camp for the Asian Games is likely to start on October 25 in Pune and Delhi.
"I will work on my technique at the camp and try to improve it in the lead-up to the Games," Sharma said.
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