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Senior national championships kick off on November 11, Geeta Phogat and Rahul Aware attempt comebacks 

Photo: IOC

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 11 (MNN) With a slew of high-profile comebacks on the cards, the senior national wrestling championships 2021 will kick off here on Thursday and grab plenty of spotlight over the next three days.

Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya, India’s medallists from the Tokyo Olympics, have given the nationals a miss and so have Tokyo Olympians Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik and Deepak Punia.

However, the big story around these nationals, to be held at the Nandini Nagar Mahavidyalaya campus, will be the return of Commonwealth Gold medallist Geeta Phogat.

While Sangeeta Phogat, another of the famed Phogat sisters, made her comeback to wrestling at the Oslo world championships last month, Geeta will return to competitive action at the nationals for the first time since giving birth to her son Arjun in 2018.

A gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi and a former world championship bronze medallist, Geeta Phogat was one of India’s most-decorated women’s wrestlers before she went on hiatus.

With eyes on the Paris 2024 Olympics, the 32-year-old Geeta Phogat will be itching to prove herself on her comeback.

Set to compete in the women’s 59kg division, Geeta Phogat’s potential run-in with Sarita Mor, who beat defending world champion Linda Morais en route to winning the bronze medal at last month’s world championships, will be a highly-anticipated contest.

Another former world championship medallist, Rahul Aware will also be making a comeback at this year’s nationals. The 2019 world championship bronze medal winner has been out of action since the Individual World Cup in Belgrade late in 2020.

Former Asian and Commonwealth champion Narsingh Yadav, Sangeeta Phogat, Geeta’s husband Pawan Kumar are some of the other big names to look forward to at the nationals.

The top two from each weight category at the nationals will secure direct entries for next month’s Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in South Africa.

Championships schedule:

November 11

Qualification and repechage (Greco Roman: 55kg, 60kg, 63kg, 67kg, 72kg, 77kg, 82kg, 87kg, 97kg, 130kg; Women’s: 65kg, 76kg) – 9.30 am to 1 pm

Final (repechage (Greco Roman: 55kg, 60kg, 63kg, 67kg, 72kg, 77kg, 82kg, 87kg, 97kg, 130kg; Women’s: 65kg, 76kg) – 3 pm to 6 pm

November 12

Qualification and repechage (Women’s: 50kg, 53kg, 55kg, 57kg, 59kg, 62kg, 68kg, 72kg; Men’s freestyle: 61kg, 70kg, 86kg, 97kg) – 9.30 am to 1 pm

Final (Women’s: 50kg, 53kg, 55kg, 57kg, 59kg, 62kg, 68kg, 72kg; Men’s freestyle: 61kg, 70kg, 86kg, 97kg) – 3 pm to 6 pm

November 13

Qualification and repechage (Men’s freestyle: 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 79kg, 92kg and 125kg) – 9.30 am to 1 pm

Final (Men’s freestyle: 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 79kg, 92kg and 125kg) – 3 pm to 6 pm

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