As the country seeks to open its freestyle and Greco Roman accounts in Paris 2024, last year’s Asian champion Aman Sehrawat (57kg) and Asian Games silver medallist Deepak Punia (86kg) will lead India’s challenge in the World Olympic Games qualifier, the last qualifying event, starting in Istanbul on Thursday.

In the backcloth of the chaos in Indian wrestling, Indian male wrestlers’ below-par showing in the Asian qualifier at Bishkek last month came as a setback for the country.

Aman getting a bye to the round of 16 is a welcome development as he needs to win two bouts to book a berth in the Olympics.

Deepak, a former Worlds silver medallist, has been drawn against Chinese Zushen Lin in the first round.

Another promising wrestler, Sujeet Kalkal (65kg), a World junior bronze medallist, will face Uzbek Umidjon Jalolov, a former World under-20 champion.

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Both Deepak and Sujeet were stranded in the Dubai floods and could not report in time for the Bishkek event.

Mansi Ahlawat (62kg) and Nisha Dahiya (68kg) will try to bag the remaining two women quota places as the country has claimed four slots in women’s weights.

Mansi will meet European bronze medallist Veranika Ivanova in the round of 16. Nisha, too, will begin her journey from the pre-quarterfinals.

Asian Games medallist Sunil Kumar (87kg), who will take on Mexican Jose Andres Vargas Rueda in the first round, and World under-23 bronze medallist Sumit (60kg), who will meet Romania’s Razvan Arnaut, will hold some hope among Greco Roman wrestlers.

The finalists and the winner of the playoff between two third-placed athletes will book quota places in each weight category.

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