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Oct 5, 2010
SUSHIL KUMAR, INDIAN WRESTLERS HOPE FOR CWG SUCCESS
Times of India
NEW DELHI: Sushil Kumar's growing status as a star was reiterated in the roar of thousands at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium when the world champion handed over the Queen's Baton to Britan's prince Charles during the opening ceremony on Sunday.
The wrestling event of the Games here, which begins on Tuesday, will mostly be about Sushil as he enters the ring for the first time after his world championship triumph in Moscow last month. The fans, however, will have to wait till next Sunday for their hero as the 66kg freestyle bouts will be held on the final day of the wrestling competitions.
Even after four top wrestlers were dropped from the CWG squad after doping violations, the hosts are expected to win medals in almost all divisions. Their replacements are strong contenders too, which shows the depth of talent India has on the mat.
On Tuesday, bouts will be held in the Greco-Roman style for the 60kg, 74kg and 96kg categories - and India have a strong presence in all three. Three times Commonwealth championships champion Ravinder Singh will be firm favourite to take gold in the 60kg; the stocky wrestler, known for his suplex moves and lifts is currently in peak form.
The remaining four weight divisions of GR will be held on Wednesday with Rajinder Kumar (55kg) and Sunil Kumar (66kg) expected to shine for the hosts.
India's big haul from the mat will come in the freestyle events, which will be held on the last two days of the championship.
Though stiff opposition will come from Canada, Nigeria and England, the Indians, led by Sushil, are expected to produce a gold rush.
Former Asian champ Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg), known for his relentless single-leg takedown, is an overwhelming favourite in his division while Anuj Kumar (84kg) is expected to convert his silver medal (from the 2002 Manchester Games) to gold at home.