Boxer Akhil Kumar comes out in support of the two-time Olympic medallist even as the wrestler moves Delhi High Court to direct WFI for a trial to decide on Rio berth
Indian boxer Akhil Kumar came out in support of wrestler Sushil Kumar to provide the two-time Olympic medallist a chance to earn a trip for Rio Games via a selection trial with Narsingh Yadav.
Yesterday, Sushil moved the Delhi High Court with a plea to direct the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to conduct a selection trial to decide who between the two will represent the country in the men's 74kg freestyle category in the quadrennial event to be held in August.
What's the fuss about?
The WFI have been reluctant to conduct the trials after Yadav secured the Olympic quota place at the World Championship in Las Vegas last year, winning a bronze in 74kg. Sushil, who missed the event due to a shoulder injury, has been demanding a trial.
While Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal yesterday made it clear that they would not interfere with WFI, Sushil has also taken his plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Akhil, the Asian and Commonwelath Games medallist, said it is only fair to have a trial for Sushil.
"I am not saying that Narsingh has not worked hard for it. There is no doubt that he has earned a quota place. At the same time, Sushil has won the Olympic medal twice. He is asking for a trial since the weight category he was fighting in (66kg) is not part of the 2016 Olympic. If he had that weight category option, he wouldn't have got into this tussle," Akhil, a Beijing Olympic quarter-finalist, told mid-day.
Mumbai-based Narsingh Yadav. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
Akhil felt conducting a trial will also benefit Yadav. "Having the trial will be a confidence-booster for Narsingh. Is he scared of losing to Sushil or is the wrestling federation in no a mood to have a trial? If he is confident of winning a medal at Rio, defeating a two-time Olympic medal winner will definitely be a morale-booster for Narsingh.
Sushil has achieved everything that he could as a wrestler and he is not asking for a direct quota place — only for a trial which is not an unreasonable demand," Akhil said.
A scenario of conducting the trial between Yadav and Sushil was expected because, as per rules, a quota belongs to the country and not to a particular wrestler. Akhil is not concerned about Sushil being forced to fight in the higher category (from 66kg to 74kg now).
"A player is mentally prepared and it is not difficult to move to a higher category. I used to fight in the 54kg and now I compete in 58kg," said Akhil.