Jakarta: Coach of six-member Greco Roman wrestling team Kuldeep Singh on Thursday was optimistic that his grapplers will return home with a couple of medals from the Asian Games.
“Greco-Roman is very tough event and also here there is a very tough field with Kazakh and Iranian grapplers starting as favourite,” Kuldeep said.
“India has good chances of bagging a medal in 77-kg, 87-kg and 130-kg events,” said the coach adding that “barring Kazakhs and Iranians, who are likely to dominate all the categories, all other countries in the fray have grapplers who are good or medal prospects in couple of categories.”
“Japanese, Uzbeks, Korean and Chinese are also among the medal contenders.”
The coach was of the view that Gurpreet (77-kg) Harpreet (87-kg) and Naveen (130-kg) stand good chance of a medal each if they perform to their potential and also if luck favours them in the draw.
He maintained that luck plays important role in this sport.
“If a draw pits you to your equal or slightly weak rival, then it is up to you to make best of the chance but if your luck deserts you and you get pitted against overwhelming superior rival then only luck can save you,” Kuldeep said.
Kuldeep said his optimism is based on the performance of the grapplers in the last year’s Asian Indoor Games, which were also held in Jakarta in which India had won three medals—two silvers and a bronze—in Greco- Roman competitions. Naveen and Harpreet had won a silver each while Gurpreet bagged a bronze.
The coach said it was in 2010 that India last won medals in Greco-Roman in Asian Games with Sunil Rana and Ravinder Singh bagging a bronze each.
He admitted that most of the spotlight has always been on freestyle because Greco-Roman is a very technical fight where the grapplers have limited options.
Kuldeep however was happy that India has emerged as a serious challenger in the wrestling events of the Asian Games.
“I am confident that our wrestlers will earn more medals this time,” he said adding “we have a good freestyle and women’s team.”
He, however, was candid enough to admit that competition in Asian Games is going to be much stiffer and tougher compare to Commonwealth Games.
Greco-Roman: Gyanender (59-kg), Manish (67-kg), Gurpreet Singh (77-kg), Harpreet Singh (87-kg), Hardeep Singh (97-kg) and Naveen (130-kg).
Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57-kg), Bajrang Punia (65-kg), Sushil Kumar (74-kg), Pawan Kumar (86-kg), Mausam Khatri (97-kg) and Sumit Malik (125-kg).
Women: Sakshi Malik (62-kg), Vinesh Phogat (50-kg), Pinki (53-kg), Pooja Dhanda (57-kg), Divya Kakran (68-kg) and Kiran (72-kg).