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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wrestler Geetika off to Finland for Olympic qualifier

Wrestler Geetika off to Finland for Olympic qualifier

May 03, 2012 18:54 IST

After clearing all obstacles, administrative and otherwise, female wrestler Geetika Jakhar is set to fly to Finland for the final London Olympics qualifiers, which commence in Helsinki on Friday.

Besides emerging victorious in the selection trials against Alka Tomar, Geetika also won a battle in court against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to obtain her right to compete in the Olympic qualifier.

She then struggled to obtain a visa, but now, with help from the Sports Ministry, this hurdle too was cleared and she will go to Helsinki, Finland, to try and make the cut for the Games.

Geetika Jakhar"I am happy that finally I am going. God's with me. This is my last chance to become an Olympian and I will give it my best shot. I thank the Sports Ministry and all who helped me and supported me in this crisis time," Geetika said, after being informed that her ticket and visa are ready.

"Twice I missed the bus. In 2004 and 2008 I lost in the semi-finals, but this time I am confident of doing well, especially after all this (struggle)," en ecstatic Geetika said.

Fourteen Indian wrestlers will compete in the World Olympic qualifier, which is the last tournament to book a ticket to the London Games. The two finalists in the event qualify.

It was a struggle for Geetika. Despite winning the selection trials, organised by WFI on April 19, the federation wanted her to compete in another bout against Alka, whom she had beaten to qualify for the Helsinki event, in the 63kg category.

However, Geetika refused and approached the Sports Ministry, which sought clarification from the WFI.

She then knocked the doors of the Delhi high court, which ultimately ruled in her favour and asked the WFI to arrange a visa for her.

However, her visa application could only be moved on Monday and procedural delays threatened to dash her hopes.

Again, Geetika, a silver medallist at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, did not give up and fought to the hilt to get her visa cleared through the ministry.

The bouts in her weight category are scheduled for May 6.

Photograph: Geetika Jakhar displays her silver medal from the women's 63kg freestyle wrestling at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, in 2006. (Christof Koepsel/Getty Images) 

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