Sports Reporter

The freestyle competitions will be held on May 12 and 13

NEW DELHI: As many as 257 wrestlers from 21 countries will be seen in action in the Asian wrestling championship to be held at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex wrestling stadium here from May 12 to 16.

All major wrestling nations of the continent — like Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China, Mongolia — will participate in the championship, which will be a ‘test' event for the Commonwealth Games.

The annual event is considered to be one of the major fixtures in the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) calendar and the apex body's top officials, including President Raphael Martinetti, are expected to be present during the championship.

The freestyle competitions will be held on May 12 and 13, women's wrestling on May 14 and Greco Roman on May 15 and 16. The bouts will start from 2 p.m. onwards.

Doordarshan will telecast the championship live.

Altogether 101 entries have been received in the freestyle category, followed by 87 in Greco Roman and 69 in women.

India is fielding a maximum of 21 wrestlers in the three categories. Last year, in the Pattaya edition of the meet, the country had returned two silver and four bronze medals.

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President G.S. Mander said the Asian championship would test India's strength for the major meets ahead.

“The focus is on the Commonwealth Games, but Asian Games is also important.

“The competition is more intense in the Asian Games,” he said at a press conference here on Saturday.

Mander said the mats which were to be used in the Ranchi National Games would be utilised in the Asian championship as those procured for the continental meet could not arrive in time. Mander said, in order to promote the sport, the federation would bid for two major world level events next year.

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