I'll have to quit: Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar, India’s only double Olympic medalist has said that Indian wrestlers, including himself, will have no option but to quit the sport if International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) stands.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the IOA yesterday for its failure to hold independent elections. The IOC Ethics Committee’s recommendation that tainted officials should not be elected to the IOA, was also ignored by the Indian body. However, a formal announcement will be made by the IOC at the end of their Executive Board meeting underway in Switzerland, it was reported yesterday.

India’s Sushil Kumar (L) wrestles Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the Men’s 66kg Freestyle gold medal match of the London Olympics earlier this year. Pic/AFP

The IOC had warned IOA against following the government’s sports code for its elections, as it that would be in violation of the Olympic Charter, but the IOA ignored the IOC directive.

The suspension means
(i) IOA will not receive any funding from IOC henceforth, (ii) IOA officials will be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events, and (iii) India’s athletes will be barred from competing in the Olympics under the national flag (though IOC could allow some to participate under the Olympic flag)
Sushil said wrestlers would see no point in continuing their hard work, if it meant they cannot represent the nation at the Games. “Why would any athlete train hard when he knows there is no future and that can never represent India in the Olympics? We will have no option but to quit the sport,” Sushil told MiD DAY yesterday.

Sushil became only the second Indian wrestler after KD Jadhav (1952, Helsinki) to win an Olympic bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games. The star grappler lived up to expectations and went a step ahead, clinching silver in the London Olympics earlier this year.

“Whatever has happened is wrong. It’s an embarrassment for our country. In the end, it’s only the athletes who suffer. They (sports administrators) don’t know how much effort we (athletes) put into Olympic preparation. So, if this decision is final, then it’s very unfortunate for our country. Many kids had started to take to Olympic sports after seeing our success in the London Games. I don’t know what they will be thinking now,” said Sushil, who hoped for an early solution to the problem. “I hope they (IOA and IOC) will come to a solution soon and this I am sure this will be sorted out,” said Sushil . 

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