Sushil almost quit before Oly glory

Sushil almost quit before Oly glory

Sushil Kumar

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17

Two-time Olympics medallist Sushil Kumar has been credited with bringing back the focus on Indian wrestling, along with his friend Yogeshwar Dutt, also an Olympics medallist.

Sushil has won practically everything the sport offers, barring Olympics and Asian Games gold medals. But as has been the case for many of our athletes, administrative and selection issues could well have ended Sushil’s wrestling career much before it took off. As a 19-year-old, Sushil won a trial to earn the right to represent India at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. But instead of him, Shokinder Tomar was selected to represent India in the 60kg weight category at the CWG.

The CWG had suddenly become important as the then sports minister, Uma Bharti, had announced that the government would dole out cash prizes — Rs 20 lakh for gold, Rs 15 for silver and Rs 10 lakh for bronze — to the medallists. On finding out that his name had been struck off, Sushil and his guru Satpal knocked on the office of the sports minister and the Wrestling Federation of India, to make a last-ditch effort to reclaim his place on the team. But he failed.

“I cried when my name was withdrawn. You should remember I was from a lower income family and winning the cash prize would have solved a lot of problems,” Sushil said during a webinar organised by a university.

“When I was replaced, I decided to quit mat wrestling and concentrate more on dangals as a means to earn a livelihood. But a former wrestler, Uday Chand-ji, told me not to lose heart and said: ‘You don’t know, you may get bigger chances to perform than this one’. Thankfully, I listened to him and continued. I always share this story with my near and dear ones,” Sushil added.

‘Offered money in 2010’

The 37-year-old also came clean about the controversial offer he got to deliberately lose his 2010 World Championships final bout against Russia’s Alan Gogaev in Moscow. “My coaches Yashvir (late Yashvir Singh) and Georgian coach (Vladimir Mestvirishvili) were approached and they dealt with it,” Sushil recalled. “I was never told about it. I came to know much later. Don’t even know how much money was offered!”

Sushil won the final for his first and only World Championships medal.

Tribune Shorts


Top Stories

India voted against Palestine at UN after Pegasus deal: Report

India voted against Palestine at UN after Pegasus deal: Report

Israel offered Pegasus to countries like India, Hungary and ...

Illegal snooping using Pegasus amounts to treason: Congress on NYT report on the spyware

Treason, democracy hijacked, says Congress on Pegasus expose

The Congress plans to launch a massive offensive on the issu...

Sidhu and company will have to pay for false case against Majithia: Sukhbir

Navjot Sidhu and company will have to pay for false case against Bikram Majithia, says Sukhbir Badal

Says BJP will get zero seat; claims all poll surveys are pai...

BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal to join SAD today

BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal to join Shiromani Akali Dal today

The SAD-BSP alliance offers ticket to his son Arvind Mittal ...

Navjot Sidhu files nomination from Amritsar East, dares Bikram Majithia to fight only from this seat

Navjot Sidhu files nomination from Amritsar East, dares Bikram Majithia to contest only from one seat

Alongside the Amritsar East assembly constituency, the Shiro...

Cities

View All