Jitender Kinha wins trial, but the door remained open due to Sushil Kumar's absence
NEW DELHI: last year in August, Jitender Kinha He had lost a 74 kg dispute for the World Fight Championship against the two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar.
Jitender had to endure multiple punctures in Sushil's eyes and also had his arm twisted more than once. Sushil also took several medical breaks during that fight.
On Friday, selection tests were held for the first tournament of the season's qualifying series (to be held in Rome from January 15 to 18), the Asian Wrestling Championship (in New Delhi from February 18 to 23) and the Asian Olympic qualification tournament (in Xian, China from March 27 to 29). Jitender earned the right to represent India in these three tournaments by winning the 74 kg test here in the Capital on Friday. The 25-year-old defeated Amit Dhankar 5-2 in the final. Now he has the opportunity to end Sushil Kumar's dream of representing India in a last Olympiad.
Without Sushil, the 74 kg test saw a record number of entries: a total of eleven fighters, including three national champions. Sushil decided to skip the trials after the Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) rejected his request to postpone the trials. In his letter to the WFI, Sushil had said he was suffering from an injured shoulder.
The federation had previously stated that the tests were for the next three tournaments, including the Olympic qualifiers. But WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said Friday that the federation can conduct new tests before the qualifiers if the performance is not 'satisfactory', which clearly gives Sushil a ray of hope.
All winners will have to perform well in the qualification series tournament and in the Asian Wrestling Championship, the WFI president said after the tests.
If we discover that the performance is not satisfactory in the first two events, then we can have new tests for the Asian Olympic qualifier in China. We want to send our best fighters so that India can get the maximum number of odds for the Tokyo Games.
Jitender has barely any idea that it is possible for the federation to conduct tests before the Olympic qualifiers.
Everyone was told that the tests were for the next three tournaments, including the Olympic qualifiers. I would like to ask the federation the reason (for new tests), if they decide to move on, Jitender told TOI. If the federation leans towards new tests before the Olympic qualifiers, then I have no choice but to do so. My job is to fight.
In other results on Friday, Ravi Dahiya (57 kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) won in their respective categories. The duo has already won seats for the Olympic Games in their weight categories. Satyawart Kadian (97 kg) and Sumit Malik (125 kg) were the other two freestyle wrestlers who reserved their places in the Indian team.
Only Bajrang Punia He was exempted by WFI from the trials.
Indian men's team: Freestyle: Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Jitender (74kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sumit Malik (125kg). Greco-Roman: Gyanendra (60kg), Ashu (67kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Hardeep (97kg), Naveen (130kg).