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Wrestling: Aman wants trials scrapped to focus on Olympics

Source: PTI
May 15, 2024 17:40 IST
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Is it time to worry about another trial, or start preparing for Olympics, asks Aman Sehrawat

Aman Sehrawat

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Sai Media/X

Aman Sehrawat, the lone male Indian wrestler to have qualified for Paris Olympics, finds it annoying that instead of shifting his focus on preparing for the Games, he still has to worry about cutting his weight to prepare for another round of trials.

The 20-year-old Under-23 world champion saved India the blushes by securing a berth in men's freestyle 57kg for the Games at the recent World Qualifiers in Istanbul. In 11 other weight categories where the country's male wrestlers competed, India drew a blank as none of them could qualify.

"So many times I have cut my weight. How many times I have to do it? It causes a lot of weakness. I don't understand do I think of now winning trials again or start preparing for Olympics. I think the work I need to put for a good preparation will be affected if I am asked to go through the trials again," Aman told PTI in an interview.

"By the time trials are finished, Olympics will be almost there, so when do we start preparations? In my opinion trials should not be held," said Aman, whose natural body weight is 62kg.


Aman, who is Asian Games bronze medallist and Asian Championships title winner, is confident that he will be in reckoning for a medal at the Games.

"I see myself in top-3 in the world. Russia and Albania are strong and it will be close with them, others I can manage," he said.

Aman Sehrawat

Aman had lost to Albania's Zelimkhan Abakarov in the 2023 World Championship where Serbia's Steven Andria Micici had emerged champion. Zavur Uguev, the two-time world champion from Russia is also a strong wrestler, who had defeated Ravi Dahiya in the Tokyo Games gold medal match.

Most probably Aman will have to beat Ravi Dahiya when the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) holds trials.

Ravi, and the other top-3 wrestlers in men's 57kg category at the last trials held in Sonepat, will have to compete against each other and the winner among them will fight it out with quota winner Aman.

"I would have already left for Russia for training if not for these trials. It is better that I train abroad with good wrestlers. I think I have done enough training in India and now it's time to train and spar with my competitors."

"That will prepare me well for Olympics. I will get a fair idea about my rivals," said Aman, who joined the Chhatarsal Stadium at the age of 10 and has been making a steady progress.

Aman argues that it's not just weight-cut that troubles wrestlers.

"Recovery is also very important. Trials, weight-cut and recovery will eat up a lot of time before Olympics if trials are held again," he said.

Aman also understands the weight of expectations. He is considered the next big thing in Indian wrestling and he is aware of that.

"I hear a lot of things about me. People have expectations now from me. I felt very bad when I could not qualify at the Asian Qualifiers in Bishkek. It does affect if I am not able to meet expectations. I worked hard for World Qualifiers and finally achieved it," he said adding that he likes the fame coming his way."

He lost his parents in 2015 and since then, Chhatarsal Stadium has been his home. He spoke about the support and care he gets from his "brother" Sagar, who is a Greco Roman wrestler.

"I relish my success with Sagar. He is more than a brother for me. He takes care of everything at 'akhada'. I just focus on my practice. He manages what I need to do, what I need to eat, when to eat, and helps in practice," said Aman.

Sagar is six years senior to Aman and wants to see his friend achieve what he could not.

"I lost my chances but now I want him to do what I could not do," said Sagar, who competed in 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.

"He was 10 year-old when he joined us. I was 16 then. I know that support at the right time matters. I did not get it, but I try to do it for him. What I like about Aman is that he is honest. He never lies about practice and training."

My stamina is good but defense is an issue

Aman considers endurance, like all other Indian wrestlers, as his strength. He admits that he has to change his bout strategy a bit to continue to excel at the big stage.

"My stamina is pretty good. Defense is my weakness though. They (coaches) want me to attack from the word go. The mistakes I committed in Asian Qualifier, I did not repeat in Istanbul. I was thinking about tiring out my opponent in the first period and then launch an attack, but it did not work, so changed my strategy."

"I also need to work on my leg attacks."

Aman needs his own coach by his side during tournaments

Lalit Kumar, who is the head coach at Chhatrasal Stadium and has monitored Aman's progress, is a firm believer that he needs to have his personal coach by his side if he has to win medals at global level.

"Look, these guys train at their centres for years. They get ready there with different coaches and then at the competitions, different coaches guide them. This is counter-productive I feel," said Lalit, who is a Dronacharya awardee.

"We know how their bodies react. What kind of warm up they require. This is my personal opinion, rest is up to WFI. We are preparing Ravi also for trials. Let' see who wins." 

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