Childhood buddies Sushil Kumar (66kg) and Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg), who between them have three Olympic medals, are on the look out for new weight categories after the international wrestling federation FILA dropped their weights from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
FILA tweaked the 18 weight divisions in Geneva Tuesday and the shake up will affect a large number of wrestlers worldwide.
Double Olympic medallist Sushil -- bronze in 2008 Beijing Games and silver in 2012 London Games -- fought in the 66kg freestyle category while Yogeshwar won the 60kg bronze in London.
Both Sushil and Yogeshwar told IANS that they know exactly what to do but would like to take a final decision after consulting their coaches, though both said it would certainly have some affect on their wrestling.
"It is a set-back for Indian wrestlers, but I am confident that we will overcome it. The decision has not only affected India but other countries as well. We had strong medal chances in both the 60kg and the 66kg category," Sushil told IANS.
Yogeshwar said FILA's decision put a spanner in their training plans and they would have to make some adjustments quickly.
"We had already made extensive training plans for the 2016 Games. Now everything will have to be reworked. Maybe, I would settle for the 65kg category instead of going down to 57kg which is unsuitable for my height," Yogeshwar told IANS.
Yogeshwar feels that Sushil should get into the 74kg category though the two-time Olympic medallist said he would weigh the pros and cons before making up my mind.
"It is a decision that I will have to take after consulting my coaches," Sushil told IANS.
Sushil and Yogeshwar though still have three years to move into the new weight categories and their coaches have different viewpoints on the weights they should move into.
Sushil's coach and father-in-law Satpal Singh feels that he should fall back to the 65kg category as it is the nearest to the division he has been fighting in. Another long time coach Yashvir Singh wants him to go into the 74 kg weight category by putting on eight kilos to improve his chances.
Both Satpal and Yashvir concede that the tweaking will have some adverse affect on the chances of the two winning medals in Rio.
"I think the world body has something against India. We were doing really well in the 60kg and the 66kg categories and now they have suddenly removed the two categories from the next Olympics. It will surely affect our medal prospects. We were targeting 5-6 medals in Rio and now we have to re-draw our plans," Satpal, a 1982 Asian Games gold medallist, told IANS.
Yashvir, also a former national coach, concurred with Satpal saying the decision will disrupt the preparations.
"We already had plans in place for the 2016 Rio Games. Now we have to start afresh and decide where we can accommodate Sushil and Yogeshwar. We were aiming for gold medals in both the categories but now all our plans have gone haywire," Yashvir told IANS.
FILA in their bid to include two weight categories in the women's section for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics has re-worked weight categories in the men's freestyle and Greco Roman.
The light classes in men's freestyle will be 57 and 65 kilograms instead of 55kg, 60kg and 66kg while in Greco-Roman, the two light classes will be 59kg and 66kg rather than 55kg, 60kg and 66kg as in the London Olympics.
Wrestling was dropped from the list of Olympic core sports in February but was reinstated in September after changes intended to modernise wrestling.
Published Date: Dec 19, 2013 09:27 am | Updated Date: Dec 19, 2013 09:27 am