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In final Oly qualifiers, wrestlers eye as many Rio quotas

In final Oly qualifiers, wrestlers eye as many Rio quotas
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Amid the recent controversies including the banning of some big names, Indian wrestlers will seek a fresh start when they take to the mat at the 2nd World Qualifying tournament, starting here on Friday, with an aim to secure as many Olympic quotas in their last attempt.

The 14-member India team, sans the likes of famous Phogat sisters -- Geeta and Babita Kumari, will be keen to secure Olympic berths for the country during the three-day event from May 6 to 8. It will be a tough competition, considering that only the top two finishers in each weight category will ensure a quota place at the Rio Games.

Last week, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) issued show cause notices to four wrestlers -- Geeta (women’s 58kg), Babita (women’s 53kg), Sumit (men’s 125kg freestyle) and Rahul Aware (men’s 57kg freestyle) -- before handing them temporary suspension for showing indiscipline, bringing their dream of qualifying for Rio Olympics to an abrupt end. At the previous qualifying event, the 1st World Qualification tournament held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia last month, Babita had forfeited her repechage bout in women’s 53kg, while Geeta had pulled out of her 58kg repechage round, citing injury.

Sumit, who had a chance to book an Olympic berth had he won his repechage round followed by two more bouts, also did not turn up for his repechage bout in 125kg freestyle, stating injury. While Aware, who was also shortlisted by WFI to train in Tbilisi along with his colleagues, had earlier refused to board the flight to Georgia, returning home from the airport. To add to all this, Vinesh Phogat (women’s 48kg) was disqualified from the event for being 400gms overweight.

However, Vinesh was let off with a warning and now all eyes would be on her, as she is not only India’s best bet in women’s category but also because she has assured WFI of ensuring an Olympic berth at the competition here.
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