India’s Greco-Roman hopes for the Paris Olympics 2024 rest on Sunil Kumar

Sunil Kumar, Paris Olympics 2024, Wrestling

India star wrestler Sunil failed to secure the Paris Olympics 2024 quota in the men’s 87KG category (Greco-Roman). However, he made it to the repechage and has another shot to secure the Olympic quota.

India’s hope of representation in Greco-Roman at the Paris Olympics 2024 was kept alive by star wrestler Sunil Kumar. At the World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers Sunil made it to the repechage round in the men’s 87KG division in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday.

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In his first repechage round, Sunil Kumar is anticipated to square off against Ilias Pagkalidis of Greece, the wrestler Huseynov defeated in the opening round. To reach the quota, he must win four fights.

That means, however, that the five Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers who are still competing at Istanbul will not be able to meet their quota. While Sumit (60 kg), Naveen (130 kg), and Nitesh (97 kg) lost their opening fights, Ashu (67 kg) was eliminated in the second round. Vikas (77 kg) was defeated in the preliminary round.

Sunil Kumar defeated Olympian Jose A Vargas Rueda 3-1 in the opening round to become the first Indian Greco-Roman wrestler to podium at the continental event since 2010, having earned a bronze medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year.

However, in the second round, the Indian wrestler was defeated by Azerbaijani grappler Rafig Huseynov, who is a two-time world champion and the Olympic bronze medallist in the Greco-Roman 77kg weight class from Tokyo 2020.

But, Huseynov advanced to the top two and claimed one of the two divisional quotas on Thursday. As a result, Sunil Kumar will compete in the rematch and have another opportunity to claim a quota on Friday.

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India did not receive a single quota for Greco-Roman wrestling in Tokyo 2020.

With the exception of Sunil, Indian wrestlers Mansi Ahlawat (62 kg) and Nisha (68 kg) will compete on Friday in the women’s freestyle division. On Saturday, the men start their quota-chasing.

Notably, the Istanbul meet is the final opportunity for wrestlers to obtain a quota for the upcoming Summer Olympics. Additionally, there are three Paris Olympics quotas are on offer in each weight class. Paris Olympics 2024 quotas will be given to the two finalists in each division for their respective countries. And the third spot will be given to the winner of the playoff bout between the two bronze medalists in the weight class.