Sushil Kumar Solanki is an Indian Wrestler born on 26th May 1983. He hails from Baprola village of Najafgarh district of South West Delhi. Sushil has been representing India in the freestyle wrestling category since 1998.
Sushil Kumar Solanki was born to Diwan Singh and Kamala Devi. He comes from a humble family background, where his father was an MTNL driver and his mother is a housewife.
Sushil Kumar took up an interest in wrestling at an early age. He was galvanized by his father and his cousin Sandeep Kumar as both are former wrestlers. Sandeep used to compete at state-level tournaments but later decided to quit the sport to allow Sushil to pursue wrestling as their family couldn’t afford training for two boys.
At the age of 14, Sushil started to pursue the sport seriously and joined the Chhatrasal Stadium’s wrestling arena where he received initial training from Yashvir Singh and Rampal. Subsequently, he was coached by Padma Bhushan Awardee Satpal Singh, and then he moved to the Indian Railways camp and trained under Gyan Singh and Rajkumar Baisla Gurjar. During Sushil’s training days, his family members used to send him tinned milk, ghee, and fresh vegetables as part of his diet.
Sushil Kumar holds Bachelors as well as Masters degrees in Physical Education from Noida College of Physical Education in Dadri. He currently employs as an assistant commercial manager at the Indian Railways.
Under the tutelage of Yashvir Singh and Rampal at the Chhatrasal Stadium, Sushil’s wrestling career began to take off. With his early international success at junior and senior levels, he became the household name in Indian wrestling and has often been credited for popularizing wrestling in India.
In 2005, Sushil won the Silver medal at the Dave Schultz Memorial International. He won the Gold medal at the same tournament in 2012. In 2009, he won the Gold at the Grand Prix of Germany in Dortmund.
In 2017, he became the new National Champion in the 74 kg category after receiving walkovers in Quarterfinal, Semi-final, and Final at the National Wrestling Championships.
Sushil Kumar was the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2006 and Padma Shri in 2011.
Sushil Kumar’s first international success came in 1998 when he won his first International Gold medal in the 45 kg category at the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in Manchester. The following year, he won the Bronze at the Asian Junior Championships in Tehran, followed by a Gold medal in the 50 kg category at the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in Lodz, Poland.
In 2003, he won the Bronze medal in the 60kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships. That year, he won the Gold medal in the 60 kg freestyle category at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. Between 2003 and 2017, Sushil has won a total of 5 Gold medals and a Bronze medal at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships.
In 2004, Sushil competed at the Athens Olympics, unfortunately, crashed out of the tournament after finishing 14th in the 66 kg category. At the 2006 Asian Games, he won the Bronze medal in his category in Doha, Qatar.
At the 2007 Asian Wrestling Championships, Sushil won the Silver medal in the 66 kg freestyle category in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In 2008, he bagged a Bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, followed up with another Bronze at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Jeju Island, South Korea.
2010 was the best year of Sushil’s wrestling career. He became the first Indian wrestler to become World Champion at the World Wrestling Championships in Moscow, Russia. Subsequently, he won the Gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships, followed that by another Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Both were held in New Delhi.
In 2012, Sushil Kumar became the first Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals by winning a Silver medal at the London Olympics. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he clinched the Gold medal in the 74 kg category, which he defended at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Sushil Kumar is looking to qualify for his 4th Olympics at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.