National champion Sandeep Singh Mann (74kg) was among the three Indian men in action who could not earn a quota for the Olympic Games on the final day at the Asian Qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Sunday,
This result keeps veteran Sushil Kumar’s Tokyo hopes alive in the weight category, reported PTI adding that the two-time Olympic-medallist, who did not compete here after missing the trials, can get one last chance book a ticket for the Tokyo Games should he be picked for the world qualifiers.
The Tokyo Olympic Games, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, is scheduled to start on July 23.
Also missing out on qualification was Satyawart Kadiyan (97kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) in the three-day competition that concluded on Sunday. Iran and Uzbekistan dominated proceedings, while India’s wrestlers faced disappointment overall.
Young guns Sonam Malik and Anshu Malik were the only ones to qualify for the Games through the event in Almaty, taking the country’s quota in women’s wrestling to three. In men’s freestyle, Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) had qualified for the Tokyo Games through the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan. India’s quota count stands at six overall in wrestling events, still two fewer than the quota spots that were earned for Rio Olympics.
All those who missed out have one last chance to make the cut for the Tokyo Games at the World Olympic Qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria from May 6-9.
Sandeep began by beating Qatar’s Abdullrahman Ibrahim in the Qualification match and followed that up by defeating Tajikistan’s Gulomdzhon Sharipov 6-2.
However, in the all-important semifinal, Sandeep lost to Iran’s Yones Aliakbar Emamichoghaaei by technical superiority.
In 97kg, Satywart Kadiyan defeated Korea’s Minwon Seo 6-2 and then lost his semifinal by technical superiority to Iran’s Mohammadhossein Askari Mohammadian. The bout was a brutal one, lasting just 30 seconds.
Sumit, on the other hand, defeated Makhsud Veysalov 7-0 but lost the semifinal 0-2 to local wrestler Yusup Batirmurzaev in what was a passive, dull bout.
UPDATE: Here’s how the Indians fared in medal matches later in the day.
(With PTI inputs)