Geeta’s return to fitness boosts UP Dangals’ prospects vs Punjab

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Pro Wrestling League (PWL) franchise UP Dangals hopes of registering their maiden win of the season were on Monday boosted with the return of seasoned wrestler Geeta Phogat after being declared fit.

Languishing at the bottom of the table, the team’s prospects took a massive hit when their star players Phogat sisters (Geeta and Babita Kumari) were on Sunday ruled out of the tournament on fitness grounds.

However, the team was relieved when Geeta was declared fit and will now be available for Tuesday’s encounter against NCR Punjab Royals at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Stadium here.

The Uttar Pradesh franchise named themselves as UP Dangal after inclusion of the much-in-demand real-life ‘Dangal’ girls in the team.

“Babita got injured while playing against Haryana Hammers. She was not able to stand still even for a minute against Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Mattsson. In the last match, against Mumbai Maharathi, Babita was replaced by National champion Pinki, but unfortunately she was blocked in the 58kg category,” UP Dangal’s team owner Sunny Katyal said.

“But now with Geeta’s availability, her supporters are excited. After the success of the film, everyone is eager to see her in action. Babita won’t be able to play but she will be present to support her teammates,” Katyal added.

On Tuesday, Geeta will face National champion Manju in the 58 kg women’s weight category.

Second-ranked Punjab, meanwhile, will be relying on their star player World champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili (57kg) and Odunayo Adekuoroye (53kg).

The bout between Mausam Khatri and Krishan Kumar in 97kg and the bout between Amit Dhankar and Pankaj Rana in the 70kg weight category are expected to be quite interesting from either side.

Punjab also suffered a setback as two-time Olympic medallist Togrul Asgarov was ruled out due to a neck injury and has been replaced by Continental Championship gold medallist Russia’ Ilyas Bekbultov.

Punjab co-owner Dharmpal said after beating Mumbai and Delhi, the side has gained confidence.

“I was also a wrestler in my playing days, with that experience I can surely say that Punjab team definitely has the ability to become champions,” he said.

–IANS

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