New Delhi, Jul 14 : For the first time, more women wrestlers are going to represent the country in the Olympics than their male counterparts, and women’s squad chief coach Kuldeep Malik is confident of another successful campaign in Tokyo.
Four women — Seema Bisla (50kg), Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Sonam Malik (62kg) — and three freestyle men wrestlers — Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) — have made it to the Olympics this time after the suspension of Sumit Malik (125kg) due to a doping offence.
Five years ago, four men — two each in freestyle (after the suspension of Narsingh Yadav due to doping) and Greco Roman – and three women had qualified for the Rio Games. Sakshi Malik had emerged as the first woman wrestler from the country to get an Olympic medal.
Encouraged by the increase in the number of quota places for women, Malik expects a better show from the squad, which has a mix of youth and experience.
“We are medal contenders in all four weights. Since Sonam and Anshu are young, they don’t fear anything. Vinesh and Seema are experienced. All of them are focused only on winning,” Malik told Sportstar