Jitender wins tests for the Asian Championship, has the opportunity to close the doors to Sushil's Olympic dreams
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New Delhi, January 3 () Jitender Kumar had the opportunity to close the door to Sushil Kumar's celebrated hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics by winning the 74 kg tests for the first game of the season in Italy and the Asian Championship on Friday.
However, to compete in the Tokyo Olympic qualification event, Jitender will have to impress the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) with medal-winning performances in Rome and New Delhi.
The stars of the World Championship, Deepak Punia (86 kg) and Ravi Dahiya (57 kg) did not have to make much effort as they were given direct tickets in the final, which they won easily. They had won their Olympic odds at the World Championship in Nur-Sultan.
Sumit Malik (125 kg) and Satyawart Kadian (97 kg) also closed their places with intelligent victories over their opponents in the men's freestyle tests.
Competing in the most competitive category of the day, Jitender prevailed 5-2 in the final against Amit Dhankar while Sushil withdrew from the tracks due to a hand injury.
The WFI had previously announced that Friday's test winner will compete in the qualifying series event in Italy (January 15-18), the Asian Championship in New Delhi (February 18-23) and also the Olympic qualifiers Asians in Xian (March 27-29) but its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said they can hold new trials before the Xian event.
If we discover that the performance of our fighters is not satisfactory in the first two events, we can have new tests to select fighters for the Asian Olympic qualifier. We want to send our best fighters, so that India can have the maximum number of quotas for the Olympic Games, Sharan said.
Sushil had defeated Jitender in a test fight for the World Championship in September 2019. The WFI has made it clear that if Jitender does well in the next two events, Sushil will not be considered.
If we are happy with the performance of our fighters in the Olympic categories, where we do not have the quota, we will not have proof. As for Sushil, no one will be allowed to go to the Olympic qualifiers, without having to compete in tests. He said he's hurt, so we have to believe in him, he added.
Amit Dhankar impressed until the final. His movements from the blocking and counterattack position were very impressive, but the experienced fighter lacked resistance.
Jitender, who was in the habit of granting early advantage, was aggressive from the start. His defense also looked much better.
I have worked on my attack game in recent months. Mentally, I am also better after working with Shako Bentinidis (coach of Bajrang Punia). I have stopped this habit of clearing the tracks later in the second period, Jitender said
His coach, Jaiveer, said that Jitender had a mental block, going against the fighters, whom he lost but improved in this regard.
We prepare him to be aggressive from the beginning. He was asked to practice short sprint (20m, 10m) to increase speed. He was also asked to make 'grabs' with care and strength. The defeat against Sushil in world trials had hurt. all of us.
But you need to improve further to get the chance to get a spot in the Olympic qualification. You can do it, we are sure, the coach added.
In the other matches, Deepak quelled Pawan Saroha's challenge 6-2 while Ravi Dahiya finished his final against Rahul in the first period with a flurry of scrolls.
Satyawart beat Mausam Khatri for technical superiority while Sumit defeated Satender 9-0.
The trials were not carried out in 65 kg with WFI exempting the Bajramg Punia Olympic medal from the tests.
Among the Greco-Roman style fighters, Gurpreet Singh (77 kg) was expected to win, beating Sajan Bhanwal.
Gyanender (60 kg), Ashu (67 kg), Sunil (87 kg), Hardeep (97 kg) and Naveen (130 kg) also reserved their places in the Indian squad. Women's trials will take place on Saturday in Lucknow. ATK KHS KHS