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Wrestlers confident of good performance

New Delhi: Buoyed by a stunning performance at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, Indian wrestlers have set sights on the 14th Asian Games beginning in Busan Monday.

“We won six medals from seven events at the Commonwealth Games. Though the Asian Games will be entirely different, we are confident of winning at least some medals,” senior grappler Kripa Shankar Patel said here. The wrestling team is scheduled to leave for Busan Friday.

India won three gold, two silver and a bronze in Manchester.

Shankar said India will face tough competition from Iran, Mongolia and Uzbekistan among other countries.

“Much will depend on the draw. If we are drawn with a top country in the first round, it will be that much difficult,” he said. “Luck will play a major role,” he added.

Tough opposition notwithstanding, the Indian team is confident of putting up a good show at the Asian Games, and Shankar even identified the players who could bring glory.

“Palwinder Cheema, Shokinder Tomar and Sujit Mann are our prime hopes,” he said.

While Cheema won the gold in the 120 kg at Manchester, Tomar won silver in the 54 kg.

“Whether we win medal or not, this experience will do a lot of good for us. We have been training under a foreign coach for the past two years, and it has begun to show results,” Shankar said.

When asked about his Games record, he pointed to his de-shaped nose. “I lost it (nose) in the first round at Bangkok. A Chinese injured my nose which got dislocated, and I couldn’t take any further part,” he said.

This time around, Shankar wants to set the record right.

SQUAD

MEN: Kripa Shankar Patel, Ramesh Kumar, Anuj Kumar, Palwinder Cheema, Mukesh Khatri, Ravinder Singh, Ranbir Singh, Surinder Singh, Satish Kumar, Virender Singh, Sujit Mann, Gurbinder Singh and Anil Mann. WOMEN: Kamini Yadav, Alka Tomar, Geetika Jakhar, Gursharan Preet Kaur.

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