Indian wrestlers have been making waves recently, stunning everyone with their performances at events running up to the Tokyo Olympics. A total of 8 wrestlers have qualified for the Olympics this year, the most India has sent to the Games.
With only one bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics by Sakshi Malik, the Indians will be looking to better their record at the Olympics. The field is strong this year, and there are definitely chances for India to better its medal tally. Let us take a look at Indian wrestlers who can win a medal for India at the Tokyo Olympics.
Indian Wrestlers who can Win a Medal at the Tokyo Olympics
1. Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia competes in the 65kg category. The 27-year-old will be making his way to his second Olympics and will be hoping to come back with a medal this year. Punia recently won a silver medal at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships in Almaty, where he lost against Takuto Otoguro, pulling out due to an elbow injury. He also took a silver in 2020, coming second to his Japanese opponent once again.
Punia won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Wrestling championships and took silver at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest. He took gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Bajrang has been showing incredible consistency over the last few years and will definitely be looking to clinch a medal at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
2. Vinesh Phogat
Vinesh Phogat recently won gold at the Poland Open in the 53kg category, showing to the world that she will be looking to finish on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics this year. The 26-year-old lost out at the Rio Olympics in the quarterfinals due to a knee injury.
Since then, Phogat has been consistent and won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. She took bronze at the 2019 World Championships and Asian Championships. She recently won gold at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships and is India’s biggest hope of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
3. Ravi Kumar Dahiya
Ravi Kumar Dahiya secured his place at the Tokyo Olympics when he won a bronze medal in the 57kg category at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. The 24-year-old created waves when he won a gold medal at the 2020 Asian Championships. He managed to successfully defend his title in 2021 clinching a gold medal again.
He recently settled for a silver medal at the 2021 Poland Open, and he is looking strong as he makes his way to the Olympics, in the hopes of winning a medal this year.
4. Deepak Punia
Deepak Punia competes in the 86kg category. He secured his spot at the Tokyo Olympics by winning a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan. He took a bronze in the 2019 Asian Championships as well. He bettered his record at the 2021 Asian Championships by winning a silver medal.
He recently pulled out of the Poland Open due to a hand injury, but Deepak Punia is highly rated in the world wrestling circuit and is expected to finish on the podium this year at the Tokyo Olympics.
5. Anshu Malik
At just 19 years old, Anshu Malik made the world notice her, when she won a silver medal at the 2020 Individual World Cup, becoming the only Indian to do so. Malik competes in the 57kg category and has also won a gold medal at the 2021 Asian Championships.
The 19-year-old won a bronze at the 2020 Asian Championships as well and is a dark horse going into the Tokyo Olympics. She is definitely one to watch out for, as she has high chance of finishing on the podium this year.