Wrestler Sushil Kumar gives National trials a miss, Tokyo Olympics qualification in jeopardy

Sushil Kumar (in red) will be seen in action during the World Olympic Qualifiers in Bulgaria
Sushil Kumar (in red) will be seen in action during the World Olympic Qualifiers in Bulgaria

Star Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar has decided to give the National Selection trials, which are to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday, a miss.

The trials at the Indira Gandhi Stadium will pick the Indian squad – Freestyle and Greco-Roman – for the Asian Olympic qualifiers and the Asian Wrestling Championships, both of which will be held in Kazakhstan in April.

“I got a call from the wrestling federation this morning enquiring about my participation in trials. I told them that I won’t be able to participate because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind due to the ongoing mess in the SGFI for the past three-four months,” Sushil Kumar was quoted as saying in a video interview.

Sushil Kumar further added in this regard:

“The forgery committed in my name took a toll on my mental health and I wasn’t focusing 100 percent on my training. Now that I have started practicing again, any event or Tokyo qualifier coming up next will see my participation.”

Sushil Kumar, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver at the 2012 London Games, would have given a tough fight to National champion Sandeep Singh Mann and Narsingh Yadav in the 74kg category.

Till now, four Indian wrestlers have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics - Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57 kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg).

Sushil Kumar eyes World Qualifiers for Tokyo berth

Sushil Kumar, a two-time Olympic medallist, was last seen in action at the 2019 World Wrestling Championship. He lost his opening round bout against Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev in the 74kg category. The 37-year-old will now vie for an Olympic spot in the World Olympic Qualifiers in Sofia, Bulgaria in May.

“It has always been my mantra that I don’t compete in tournaments without proper training. When you are performing for the country, you want to be fully fit and committed,” Sushil Kumar further added.

Last week, Sushil Kumar was re-elected as the School Games Federation of India president.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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