Wrestling World Championships women's trials likely to be more competitive than men's, says national coach Kuldeep Malik

Lucknow: It's not going to be a cakewalk for the top wrestlers when the World Championship trials for women will be held here on Sunday, national coach Kuldeep Malik said on Saturday.

 Wrestling World Championships womens trials likely to be more competitive than mens, says national coach Kuldeep Malik

File image of Vinesh Phogat. Image courtesy: Twitter @Phogat_Vinesh

Malik, who oversees the national camp along with the foreign coach Andrew Cook, said the upcoming women wrestlers are motivated to do well against their celebrated seniors.

The men's trials in New Delhi lacked good competition, as Bajrang Punia and Deepak Punia had to contend with just one opponent in their respective categories.

Whatever little fight was witnessed was in the 57kg, in which Ravi Dahiya emerged winner, prevailing in a draw, which featured tough wrestlers like Sandeep Tomar and Utkarsh Kale.

"It's going to be tough for everyone. The girls have trained well. They are motivated to do well. There are going to be tough bouts on Sunday," said Malik.

However, it remains to be seen how the young wrestlers will fare against someone like Vinesh Phogat, who has asserted her dominance at the international level.

She has switched to 53kg from 50kg and has already won gold medals at Grand Prix of Spain and Yasar Dogu International.

The level at which Vinesh competes, she is not likely to be challenged by her compatriots.

But Malik felt: "Pinki is in good shape. She is expected to do well in 53kg, despite the presence of Vinesh."

While the reigning Asian Games champion Vinesh is consistent, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik has struggled to repeat her success at the big stage. She has been looking for consistency at the international level and like Vinesh, she too is unlikely to face much of a challenge at the domestic level.

She beat reigning world champion Petra Olli of Finland en route a silver-winning performance at the Dan Kolov-Nikol Petrov tournament in Bulgaria but did not reach the medal round at Yasar Dogu event in Istanbul.

The coach said: "Deepika Jakhar could be a threat for Sakshi in the 62kg."

World Championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda has definitely taken some good strides. She too won gold in Bulgaria but did not reach the medal round in Istanbul.

"Sarita Mor, Manju and junior wrestler Anshu are all in 59kg. It will be an interesting fight in this category. Pooja is in good form but all these wrestlers are also working very hard to prove their mettle," said Malik.

Like the men's, the trials for women will also be held only for six Olympic weight categories — 50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg and 76kg.

For the remaining four categories, the WFI will conduct trials later.

The World Championship, slated to be held in Kazakhstan from 14-22 September, is the first qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2019 19:42:50 IST