India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju felicitated the medal-winning Indian wrestlers with cash awards for putting up their best-ever performance in the just-concluded World Wrestling Championships at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Tuesday (September 24).
Indian wrestlers put their best foot forward to grab one silver and four bronze medals which is better than their previous best of 2013 when the country won one silver and two bronze.
Deepak Punia was awarded a cheque of ₹7 lakhs for clinching the silver medal in men’s 86kg category, while the four bronze winners — Bajrang Punia (men’s 65 kg freestyle), Vinesh Phogat (women’s 53 kg), Rahul Aware (men’s 61 kg) and Ravi Dahiya (men’s 57 kg) took home ₹4 lakhs each.
Vinesh became the first wrestler to book herself an Olympic berth followed by Deepak, Bajrang and Ravi who also earned Olympic quotas in the process. Rahul also won a bronze, however, the men’s 61kg category was a non-Olympic event.
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It was the first time that India won four Olympic quotas at the Championships. Four years ago, India had earned just one Olympic quota.
There are 18 wrestling events at the Tokyo Olympics and Indian wrestlers will get two more qualifying opportunities, first at the Asian Wrestling Championships in March 2020, followed by the World Qualification tournament in April next year.
“I am very proud of this historic performance by the Indian wrestling team where they won five medals and four Olympic quotas,” Rijiju told reporters after the felicitation.
“This function and the rewards are a way of congratulating them and appreciating them for the honour they have brought for the country. The government will help in any which way possible so that there is no shortfall in preparation for the Olympics,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)