By Alkesh Sharma
Patiala (Punjab), Aug 30 (IANS) With women's wrestling being included for the first time in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) here in October, Indian grapplers are an enthusiastic lot and expect at least three to four gold medals.
"We are very happy that women's wrestling has been included in the Commonwealth Games. India has very good women wrestlers and now they will get another platform to prove their talent and win medals for the country," P.R. Sondhi, national chief coach of wrestling, told IANS.
"All girls are practising very hard and following a strict schedule. We are expecting medals in all seven weight categories and at least three-four golds."
India is competing in the weight categories of 48 kg, 51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg and 72 kg. Five Haryana girls and one each from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are competing in wrestling.
"We have very good chances in CWG but we are expecting a tough competition from Canada, as they have world champions and Olympics medal winners in their squad," Sondhi said.
Twenty-eight wrestlers (four from each of the seven categories), including the seven wrestlers selected for the Commonwealth Games, have been honing their skills at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) here for the past few months.
Monika, the female wrestling coach, said the girls are pulling out all stops to win medals in the Oct 3-14 Games.
"All the girls are very hardworking and focused. They are very enthusiastic and want to win medals," said Monica, who is also a professional wrestler and has done an advanced course in coaching from Japan.
"We are giving attention to every player and attending to their individual needs and requirements. We have made a special diet chart for them, emphasising more on protein-rich diet," she said.
The players say they are eyeing a clean sweep of gold medals in women's wrestling.
"I am enjoying the practice schedule and I am sure of winning a gold medal. We are all geared up to prove the strength of small town girls before the world. We want nothing less than a clean sweep of gold medals in all seven categories," said Alka Tomar, who will compete in the 59-kg category.
Perivinkel Kaur, wrestling team physio, said all the players are fit and raring to go.
"The girls are fit and they have amazing stamina. So far there has been no injury problem and all of them are responding very well to the training regimen," she said.
"We enjoy home advantage in Delhi, this would certainly help the players in maintaining physical and psychological balance."