Bajrang Punia is a strong favourite to take gold in Coventry ©Getty Images

World and Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia will hope to spearhead India’s wrestling team to more Commonwealth Games success here.

Punia captured the men’s 65 kilograms title at Gold Coast 2018 and is expected to retain his crown.

Since winning in Australia four years ago, Punja achieved Asian Games gold, claimed two world medals and clinched bronze at Tokyo 2020 despite an injury-hit build-up.

Punja has been training in the United States in preparation for Birmingham 2022, where he will bid for glory.

India topped the wrestling medal table at Gold Coast 2018, winning five golds, three silvers and four bronzes.

World medallist Vinesh Phogat is another strong gold-medal contender for India in the women’s 53kg category.

Phogat is aiming for a third successive gold after winning the 48kg title at Glasgow 2014 and 50kg crown at Gold Coast 2018.

Other medal hopes for India include Rio 2016 Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik in the women’s 58kg category and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran in the men’s 68kg division.

Canada is the most successful nation in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, winning 135 medals, including 66 golds, 43 silvers, and 26 bronzes.

Vinesh Phogat is seeking to win a third successive Commonwealth Games title ©Getty Images
Vinesh Phogat is seeking to win a third successive Commonwealth Games title ©Getty Images

Ana Godinez Gonzalez of Canada is among the favourites for gold having won the Pan America 62kg gold in May.

Godinez Gonzalez was born in Mexico before fleeing the country at the age of seven and seeking refuge in Canada.

"I never thought I would travel the world," said Godinez Gonzalez.

"I thought I was going to be in Mexico for my whole life.

"I didn't even know there was so much to see in the world.

"I didn't know you could make a career out of sport.

"We were children on the street in Mexico going up to people in cars to try to get them to buy ice cream.

"Where I am now is just another world.

"I'm excited about the competition here.

"Until earlier this year I didn't know the Commonwealth Games existed."

Wrestling is scheduled to run from tomorrow until Saturday (August 6) at Coventry Arena, with athletes competing across 12 weight categories, all in freestyle.