New India embarks on ‘Mission Worlds’ to silence critics


A young Indian will try to leave behind all the politics linked to his trip to the U23 world wrestling championships which take place in Belgarde. The goal will be to silence everyone, including the government which doubted their prowess in the fight.

India have never won more than three medals at age group level since the competition started in 2017. From the medal lot of ’17, only Divya Karkan has managed to rise through the ranks. She won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth and Asian Games and is a two-time Asian champion.

The youngster is part of the women’s wrestling team for the U23 Worlds. However, the worry for her and the rest of the team will be the lack of preparation.

However, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is optimistic that the current batch will be inspired by performances from the Tokyo Olympics and the Cadet and Junior World Championships, where India had a memorable outing.

A new squad with familiar faces for the U23 Wrestling World Championship

Of the 30 wrestlers (10 each in Greco-Roman, free and women’s wrestling), six wrestlers found their way to the senior team. WFI selected the gold medalists for the U23 national championships held in Amethi in September.

While Sunil Kumar, Ashu and Sajan have been regulars on the Greco-Roman team, Divya and Nisha are among the best in their respective weight classes.

Sandeep Singh is the most recent to join the senior squad. He won the 74kg trials for the Olympic qualifiers but failed to reserve the spot. The Punjabi wrestler then rose to 86 kg, where he competed at the recently hosted World Championships in Oslo, Norway.

Read also: WFI supports wrestlers’ decision to relocate Delhi HC against SAI exclusion

However, there are many who have not had an excellent national or international track record over the past three years. It has also become a point of contention for the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to exclude six wrestlers from their advantage at no cost to the government for the U23 World Wrestling Championship.

SAI also suggested that the Wrestling Federation of India should also include coaches from academies producing more contingent members.

Lack of training for the U23 World Wrestling Championship

One factor that could hurt the Indian team is that their preparation for the Worlds has not been ideal. The national championships in Amethi were the first competition in as many months for the team and there was no national camp until the U23 world wrestling championship. WFI had asked the wrestlers to continue training in their respective wrestling academies.

U23 Wrestling World Championship Team

Free style: Saurabh, Suraj Rajkumar Kokate, Parvinder, Naveen, Parveen Malik, Vicky, Sandeep Singh, Gurdeshwar Singh, Sahil and Mohit.

Greco-Roman: Arsad, Vikas, Neeraj, Ashu, Vikas, Sajan, Rohit Dahiya, Sunil Kumar, Deepanshu, Aryan Panwar.

Women’s: Shivani Pawar, Ankush, Anju, Kitika, Pushapa, Radhika, Nisha, Monika, Divya Kakran, Bipasha

LIVE BROADCASTING of the U23 Wrestling World Championship: The live stream of the U23 Wrestling World Championships will be available on

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