Aiming to improve on the bronze medal she won in the previous World Championships, Olympian woman wrestler Geeta Phogat said she is slightly wary of the new rules and regulations that await her at the marquee event scheduled from September 16 to 22 in Budapest, Hungary.
“It was a great feeling after winning a bronze at the Worlds. That too after a not so good Olympics. I really want to better my performance in the upcoming event. Going into the championships as a medal winner will definitely motivate me.
Winning back to back medals will be great,” Geeta told PTI in an interview.
The 24-year-old, however, is a little perturbed as senior wrestlers have not participated in any competition since sweeping changes were made in the bout rules by FILA, which is fighting for the re-entry of the sport in the Olympic movement.
“It would have been better had we played a competition with new rules. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. But we have a two-week training session prior to the World Championships at Budapest which will be very crucial. But I feel the new rules would be beneficial for our wrestlers and we hope to easily adapt to them,” said the 59kg category grappler.
The Indian wrestlers were to play under the new rules at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships, which was supposed to be held in July at Glasgow, but the hosts declined to hold the event citing unpreparedness.
Geeta said she is also keen to put the disappointment of the Asian Championship behind her
After helping India finish fifth in the World Cup in March this year, Geeta, the first Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Olympics, suffered a shock first-round exit at the continental event here a month later.
“I had suffered a hamstring injury just two days prior to the Asian Championships which affected my performance. But I am fit now and raring to go. I have undergone rigorous training for the upcoming tournament and I am up for the challenge,” Geeta said.
At last year’s Worlds in Edmonton Canada, just after the London Olympics, Geeta and Babita had won bronze medals in the 55kg and 51kg divisions respectively.
“The competition is going to be really tough as most of the teams would be coming off an international break and would be fresh. I am keen to give my 100 per cent. Rest is in the hands of almighty,” said the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Team coach O.P. Yadav too has pinned his hopes on the Haryana-girl to keep the Indian flag high at the marquee event that will be held from September 16-22.
“We have lot of expectations from Geeta and I firmly believe she can better the colour of her medal. She looked sharp in the training sessions and I am sure her opponents would be wary of her,” said Yadav, the chief women’s coach.
Geeta’s younger sister, Babita, however, won’t be catching the flight to Budapest as she was overwhelmed by a junior wrestler, Pooja Dhanda, at the trials for the championships.
“Unfortunately she (Babita) could not made it to the squad. She wasn’t fully fit that’s why she lost. But still we have very good contenders in each weight category. I am sure we will definitely improve on our team standings,” he added.
The Indian team will leave on September 1 for the event and will participate in a training camp ahead of the tournament.