Several medals are expected when India’s star-studded wrestling line-up begins its campaign at the Commonwealth Games 2018 tomorrow. The opening day in wrestling features double-Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar (74kg) tomorrow.
“Everybody expects us to win gold medals in a heap and I can assure you that, this is exactly what is going to happen,” India coach Kuldeep Singh told PTI after a training session.
“Tomorrow, our top pehelwan Sushil will compete. He is in supreme fitness and you will see how he dismantles competition,” Singh said.
Sushil’s build-up to the Games has been far from ideal as he found himself dragged into a selection controversy, when his supporters and those of his rival Parveen Rana came to blows during the trials. It would be interesting how Sushil responds to the pre-event pressure.
Rahul Aware will also feature in men’s 57kg category. The freestyle wrestler is a former gold-medallist at the Commonwealth Championships.
His coach’s confidence is not completely off the mark given India’s dominance at the Commonwealth level. The only challenge is expected to come from Canada and Nigeria, the latter in the women’s draw.
India had claimed 13 medals, five gold, six silver and two bronze at the 2014 Games, just one shy of top-finishers Canada.
“It will be the same this time but obviously, we are expecting our performance would be better than Glasgow, perhaps the best ever in the Games,” Singh stated.
“Nigerians have some strong names in the women’s draw. Canada will pose challenge. But none is strong enough to stop us from sweeping the competition,” said Singh.
Defending champion Vinesh Phogat will also be in action competing in the women’s 53kg category.