BENGALURU YODHAS will be looking to shrug off the disappointment of their loss in the previous tie with a positive result against the Haryana Hammers in round three of the Pro Wrestling League on Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Gurgaon.
Having suffered a heavy 5-2 defeat against the Mumbai franchise, the Yodhas will be looking to make amends against a Haryana team who have London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt in its ranks. Dutt will compete against his protege Bajrang Punia in the 65 kg category, a contest that has already generated a considerable buzz in wrestling circles.
Against Mumbai, only Yodhas’ icon player Narsingh Yadav and Bajrang managed to record victories. Coach Kuldeep Malik attributed the loss to lapses in concentration at crucial moments and also the lack of luck for the Yodhas.
“There was a little bit of confusion surrounding the toss and that definitely affected us. Having said that, we have to be ready to compete no matter what the conditions are. Some of our wrestlers lost the initiative at crucial moments. We began well but tailed off at business ends of three bouts. We need to correct that if we want to pick up a positive result here,” he said.
Haryana Hammers are battling an injury crisis in the 57 kg category with Amit Dahiya unsure of his fitness owing to a knee strain. In the 74 kg category, Yodhas’ skipper Narsingh Yadav will wrestle against London Olympics bronze medallist Livan Lopez Azcuy of Cuba. Azcuy had won the bronze in the 69 kg category at the London Games. In the 97 kg category, Yodhas’ Pavlo Oliiynik who sat out the match against Mumbai Garuda will be pitted against Yuri Maier of Argentina. In the 125 kg category, Davit Modzmanashvili will be looking to get over his disappointing loss on Monday as he faces Hitender.
In the women’s section, Alyssa Lampe who suffered a surprise defeat against Ritu Phogat in the previous round will be up against Nirmal Devi in the 48 kg category. In the 53 kg category Lalita Sehrawat faces Tatyana Kit of the Ukraine while Oksana Herhel, the most expensive player in season one of the Pro Wrestling League, will square off against Yuliya Ratkevich of the Yodhas. In the 75 kg category, Navjot Kaur will take on veteran Geetika Jakhar.
Narsingh Yadav who defeated Pardeep of Mumbai by a 6-0 scoreline implored his team to step up to the occasion and signal their intent in emphatic fashion.
“Against Mumbai we did not really perform to the best of our abilities and also the intensity dropped in a few bouts. We need to guard against complacency. This is a short league but one that is very competitive. We have to ensure that we take away full points every time we step on to the mat,” he said.
Haryana Hammers defeated the Dilli Veer in the last match that they played. Interestingly, they earned fewer points than Delhi but won the tie based on bout wins. Narsingh believed that Haryana’s roster against the Yodhas’ would serve up a tight, exciting contest.
“The Hammers are a very good team. Their two foreign girls are excellent. We will need to play very well against them and ensure that we take full toll when we get the opportunity. Unfortunately against Mumbai, we failed to make appropriate use of our opportunities and that hurt us. We cannot make the same mistake here,” he said.
Yogeshwar Dutt, the icon player of the Haryana Hammers said that his team was well rested, having played their last match on Saturday and were raring to go.
“Our performance in the last match was very encouraging. We may not have picked up a lot of points but the way we defended and never backed down has given everyone a lot of belief. The Yodhas are a good team, every bout will be interesting and we will have to be at our very best if we want to win this match,” he said.