Draw Analysis For India Freestyle Wrestling At Asian Olympic Qualifier 2024

2.6/5 - (5 votes)
The next event in wrestling for qualification to Paris 2024 is almost upon us, with the Asian qualification tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from April 19th to 21st.

There will be two quota places on offer in each event [6 each in men’s freestyle(FS), men’s Greco-Roman (GR) and women’s wrestling (WW)].

The format is very straightforward- each event will have a knockout format, with a top half and bottom half. Whoever reaches the final will go the Olympics; no repechage, no gold or bronze medal bouts.

Before going further into India’s prospects in each category, I extend my solidarity to all the protesting wrestlers, who braved the unbridled power of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and his coterie. Justice should prevail.

Men’s FS is scheduled for April 19th, WW is on April 20th and GR on April 21st. In part 1, we will look at prospects of the men’s freestyle team, who will be competing under the Indian flag at Bishkek-

Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle –

Aman (57kg)

Sujeet (65kg)

Jaideep (74kg)

Deepak Punia (86kg)

Deepak (97kg)

Sumit (125kg)


Men’s FS 57 kg:

This is one of the most anticipated categories and Aman will be hot favourite to qualify for Paris 2024. Much has changed since Tokyo 2021. Zaur Uguev, reigning Olympic champion has qualified again, but others have cropped up- Zelimkham Akabarov and Stefan Micic have emerged as contenders for gold in 2024. Thomas Gilman is no longer competing and most likely, Zane Richards will be USA’s representative. Ravi Kumar Dahiya, silver medallist from Tokyo, has been struggling because of injuries. Among Asians, only Rei Higuchi of Japan has won a quota.

Aman’s main challengers would be

Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)
Chong Song Han (DPR Korea)

Aman is in good form this year, having won the Zagreb ranking series. Abdullaev shocked Indian fans when he beat Ravi in the 2022 world championships and cannot be counted out.

In all honesty, barring injury, Aman should breeze through.

Here’s Aman’s Draw

Men’s FS 65 kg:

This has been traditionally India’s strongest category. Bajrang Punia has been legendary, but has since been superseded by Sujeet Kalakal, Rohit and Anuj Kumar. Sujeet won a tightly contested trials and will hope to add to India’s Paris contingent. Rahman Amouzad is the most in-form Asian wrestler and he has already made through to Paris from the Belgrade world championships.

Sujeet’s main challengers should be

Umidjon Jalolov (Uzbekistan)

Sujeet has already had some great moments in his fledgling career- he was leading Sebastian Rivera of Puerto Rico 7-2 until the final minute and narrowly lost 7-9 at the Ibrahim Moustafa ranking series. Rivera later won silver at the 2023 world championships.

Sujeet is a dark horse. I won’t be surprised if he makes it. As I’m writing this, I’m hearing that Sujeet and Deepak Punia (86 kg) are stranded at Dubai airport because of unprecedented rains and would be lucky to even reach Bishkek. Wretched luck!

Men’s FS 74 kg:

Jaideep is a surprise entrant in this category and he has earned it, beating more fancied Naveen Malik and Yash. He is just 20 and was competing in u20 till last year.

Japan has a quota (Daichi Takatani) from the world championships. Favourites to qualify would be Lu Feng from China, any of the Iranians or one from Uzbekistan/ Kazakhstan/ Kyrgyzstan. They all have a higher pedigree and experience, and Jaideep would have his task cut out. He should just go for it.

Draw for Jaideep

Men’s FS 86 kg:

We had great hopes from Deepak Punia after Tokyo but he has flattered to deceive. Even if he had reached the venue without any hassles, I don’t think we would be even close to a quota. I would be happy to be proved wrong.

This is the category where Asia has 3 quotas from the world championships- the great Hassan Yazdani, Shapiev of Uzbekistan and Daulatbekov of Kazakhstan. Favourites to qualify from here would be Hayato Ishiguro of Japan and Lin Zushen of China. Slightly below them would be Magomed Shapirov of Bahrain and Bat Erdene of Mongolia. He first faces the Japanese in Quarterfinal.

Punia directly goes into Quarterfinal

Men’s FS 97 and 125 kg:

India has traditionally not done well in the heavier weights and the trend is most likely expected to continue.

97 kg’s reigning world champion is from Asia- Bahrain’s Akhmed Tazhudinov is the only Asian to have qualified so far. Deepak will have to cross 3 landmines to get a quota here.

1. Arash Yoshida of Japan, who placed fifth in Belgrade, albeit in 92kg.
2. Amirali Azarpira of Iran who won the Zagreb ranking series, where he beat the gun Kyle Snyder.
3. If he crosses these hurdles, he will mostly face Magomed Ibragimov (Uzb), who is a former Asian champion.
97Kg Draw for Deepak


Like 97 kg, the 125 kg world champion is also from Asia- Amir Hossein Zare of Iran. Sumit will have to face the decorated Mongolian, Munkhtur Lkhagvagerel, who is the Asian games silver medallist and former World’s silver medallist. He has even beaten multiple world champion and multiple Olympic medallist Geno Petriashvili. If by hook or crook, Sumit gets through this round, it will be the result of the day.

Draw for Sumeet


Written by Sundaram

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *