India’s Olympic medal-winning wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt are expected to compete at the senior national championship next month, reported The Indian Express.
The decision has sparked off speculation that the two are aspiring to participate in the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, since the Nationals will be qualification tournament for the trials.
Kumar is currently training at the Chhatrasal stadium in New Delhi while Dutt’s preparations are underway at his academy in Gohana, Haryana.
“We are aware that Sushil is preparing for a return and most likely he will enter the Nationals to be eligible for selection in the CWG team,” the reported quoted an unnamed official as saying. “Everyone has to compete in the Nationals if they want to be part of the team for CWG or Asian Games.”
Two-time Olympic medal winner Kumar last competed at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, where he clinched a gold medal in the 74-kg category. The 34-year-old has since been on the sidelines after suffering a shoulder injury. He also missed the cut for the Rio Olympics last year after doping-accused wrestler Narsingh Yadav pipped him for the spot.
Kumar and Dutt have their task cut out for the Asian Games, which will be held in August next year in Indonesia. “It is highly doubtful that they will compete at the Asian Games,” the official quoted above added. “CWG would be their target but if they do make the team for the Asiad, they will have to perform exceptionally well to beat the young wrestlers from other countries.”
Former Commonwealth Games gold-medallists Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari have confirmed that they will be participating in the event, which will be staged in Indore.
The Phogat sisters will be competing for a place in the Haryana side at the state trials in Rohtak on October 19. “We will be competing at the Haryana state tournament on Thursday,” Geeta Phogat was quoted as saying. “We will also compete at the Nationals as we are preparing for a return.”