The road ahead for Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt
As the trials for selecting the men's freestyle wrestling team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Senior Asian Championships have come to a close, two things have come out crystal clear. One, the legendary wrestler Sushil Kumar has refused to hang up his boots and is all set to take one more shot at glory, with his third straight appearance at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, to be held in early April of the upcoming year 2018.
On the other hand, seasoned wrestler and London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt has a tougher road ahead in his apparent journey to Tokyo Olympics, 2020.
Sushil Kumar, who was out of significant action since September 2014, has shown signs of a possible comeback with a comprehensive gold medal at the recently concluded Commonwealth Championships held at Johannesburg. In a soup for accepting a gold medal at the National Championships, when three of his five bouts were straight walkovers, Sushil Kumar gave a fitting reply with a gold medal in the national trials, where he pummeled Jitendra Kumar in the finals to book his place for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the following Asian Championships.
However, controversy didn't leave his side yet again, when provoked by the protests of Parveen Rana, whom Sushil had defeated in the semifinals of the trials, the supporters of the senior wrestler took matters into their own hands and engaged in a fisticuff with Parveen and his colleagues, including his own brother, who suffered some serious injuries.
While Sushil and his mentor, Guru Satpal were quick enough to criticize this quarrel, it doesn't seem as if this fight would end soon. We only hope that Sushil's dreams for Tokyo 2020 don't suffer the way his Rio 2016 dreams had.
On the other hand, it will be very tough now for Yogeshwar Dutt to script a comeback, especially when he is out of contention for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, with his protege and ex-World Championship bronze medalist Bajrang Punia having booked the tickets to the same. Both wrestle in the same category, i.e. 65 kg, and unless and until Yogeshwar scripts a miraculous comeback, in time for the next major challenge, which are the Asian Games, it is very unlikely that he can claim to aim for another chance at an Olympic gold in Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Also, the upcoming Commonwealth Games is the last chance Sub Inspector in Haryana Police and seasoned wrestler Mausam Khatri, who has just made the cut for the Commonwealth Games with these trials, for a tryst with glory in 2018. An Asian Games bronze medalist at the Guangzhou edition in 2010, this heavyweight wrestler had missed the ticket to Rio Olympics by a whisker. This time, he shall leave no stone unturned to make sure that he is considered as a serious medal hope for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
As of now, following is the team that will compete for the ultimate glory at the Commonwealth Games and the following Asian Championships:-
- Rahul Aware - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [57 kg]
- Bajrang Punia - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [65 kg]
- Sushil Kumar Solanki - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [74 kg]
- Somveer Kadian - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [84 kg]
- Mausam Khatri - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [97 kg]
- Sumit Malik - Men's Freestyle Wrestling [125 kg]