Of course, Sandeep has no guarantee that he will wrestle in Rio as the WFI is likely to conduct trials between Sandeep and Amit Kumar Dahiya to decide who books the flight to Rio.
The Indian wrestling contingent’s preparations for the Olympic Qualifiers in Mongolia was marred by the controversy surrounding wrestler Rahul Aware’s move not to board the flight to Georgia for a training stint because his name was missing from the 57-kg category for the Mongolia Olympic Qualifiers.
The manner in which Rahul refused to travel with the team to Georgia did ruffle the feathers of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) as they picked Sandeep Tomar ahead of him for the Mongolia Olympic Qualifiers.
Now, the WFI scored a ‘moral high point’ after Sandeep Tomar bagged a bronze medal in the 57-kg in the Mongolia Olympic Qualifiers, thus ensuring an Olympic berth for India in Rio.
The point is – Sandeep’s bronze-medal effort has ensured two things – first, the WFI was justified in picking him ahead of Aware and second, Aware’s Olympic aspirations are truly over after his recent unbecoming act.
Aware had no business to behave in the manner he did and should have exercised patience as one more Olympic qualifying tournament was anyway happening in May in Turkey.
The WFI, on his part, has shown that it was keen to try out all grapplers to pick his best choice for the Rio Olympics. The fact that the WFI wants to conduct trials between Sandeep and Amit Kumar Dahiya indicates that it does not nurse any grudge against anyone and only wants to pick the best medal prospect for the Rio Olympics.
The unsavoury controversy before the Mongolia Olympic Qualifiers has one big loser – Rahul Aware, who actually won a bronze medal like Sandeep in the earlier Olympic qualifiers but in that event, only two finalists secured Olympic spots.
Aware is a talented wrestler but he could have avoided an unwanted controversy and now there will be a question mark over his international career.