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Sakshi Malik enters Wrestling World Championship squad

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Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik earned a direct entry into India’s Wrestling World Championship squad after her opponent at the trails withdrew due to an injury.

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Sakshi, who failed to win a medal at the recently concluded 2018 Asian Games and had only managed a bronze at Gold Coast, was asked to go through the trails along with veteran wrestler Sushil Kumar. But while the latter pulled out due to poor form, Sakshi’s opponent in the 62kg category Sarita Mor withdrew due to a knee injury.

“The trials in four categories were left. Out of those, we chose not to disturb Bajrang (men’s 65kg) and Vinesh Phogat (women’s 50kg). Sakshi was to fight Sarita but she has reported a knee injury so we are sending Sakshi to the Worlds,” the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar was quoted as saying by PTI.

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Earlier, Sakshi finished runner-up at a UWW ranking event in Belarus, losing the final 2-6 to Azerbaijan’s Marianna Satsin. It though will boost her up for the upcoming World Championships, which is slated to be held at Budapest from October 20-28.

Meanwhile, “The fourth category is women’s 53kg. Ritu Phogat and Pinky will fight for that place. Ritu had competed in the 50kg category at the Yasar Dogu International in Turkey but we feel she can do well in the 53kg as well. She has a good medal chance in this category, so, we decided to conduct a trial match between Ritu and Pinky,” added Tomar reports the news agency.

The 53kg clash will be held tomorrow in Lucknow under the supervision of National women’s coach Kuldeep Malik, he informed.

The WFI is also starting a U-23 National Championship, which will be held in Chittaurgarh, Rajasthan from September 27-30and will be used to identify future wrestlers informed Tomar.

“In the senior nationals, many juniors also compete but they get to clash against only with the aged wrestlers. They do not get great competition. They need to fight it out with strong wrestlers to be ready for international events. In the Under-23 Nationals, we will see better bouts and next stars will be identified,” he said.

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