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Bajrang Punia Eyes Back-to-Back Titles as 30-member Team Announced for World Ranking Series

Bajrang Punia (Photo Credit: PTI)

Bajrang Punia (Photo Credit: PTI)

World Ranking Series: Bajrang Punia, who won the gold medal in the previous edition in January last year, will go for another one when the tournament begins on March 4.

India’s star freestyle wrestler Bajrang Punia would look forward to win back-to-back titles in the men’s 65kg when the World Ranking Series begins on March 4 in the Italian port city of Ostia. In the previous edition, held in January last year, the 26-year-old Haryana international had outplayed Jordan Oliver to win gold. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Wednesday announced a 30-member national squad, including eight in Greco Roman category, for the season-opening international event.

The competition is expected to attract more than 300 wrestlers from as many as 32 countries.

Apart from Punia, the WFI has also selected Rohit in the 65kg weight category, to give exposure to second bench. The men 74kg group will feature newly-crowned champion Sandeep Singh from Punjab and former world bronze medallists Narsingh Yadav from Maharashtra.

Yadav, 31, though had lost in the group stages of the 74kg event in the last month’s national championships held in NOIDA, but he has been selected for the Italy Ranking Series for exposure.

The 74kg event of the Ranking Series has become more interesting as the 2012 Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs of USA is also in the fray,

National 77kg Greco Roman champion Gurpreet Singh, who had won gold in the 82kg category in the previous edition of the World Ranking Series held in January last year, will be competing in the 77kg group this time to prepare for the Asian Olympic qualifier, to be held at Almaty, Kazakhstan, from April 9 to 11.

The 2019 world bronze medallist and Jakarta Asian Games champion Vinesh Phogat (53kg), Asian medallists Anshu Malik (57kg), Sonam Malik and 2006 Olympic Games bronze medallists Sakshi Malik (62kg) are some of the prominent wrestlers in the women’s group selected for next month’s international competition in Italy.

TEAM

Women: 50kg: Meenakshi; 53kg: Vinesh Phogat, Nandani Bajirao; 57kg: Anshu Malik; 59kg: Sarita; 62kg: Sonam Malik, Sakshi Malik; 65kg: Nisha; 68kg: Anita; 76kg: Kiran

Men: 57kg: Ravi Dahiya, Pankaj; 65kg: Bajrang Punia, Rohit; 70kg: Vishal Kaliraman; 74kg: Narsingh Yadav, Sandeep Singh; 79kg: Rahul Rathi; 86kg: Deepak Punia, Parveen Chahar

97kg: Satyawart Kadian; 125kg: Sumit Kumar

Greco Roman: 55kg: Arjum Halakurki; 60kg: Manish; 63kg: Neeraj; 67kg: Gaurav Duhoon; 72kg: Kuldeep Malik; 77kg: Gurpreet Singh; 82kg: Harpreet Singh; 87kg: Sunil Kumar

first published:February 24, 2021, 20:26 IST