mid-day editorial: Let go, Sushil, we still love you

Sport is not only about competition. It’s also about opportunity. No one probably realises this better than Narsingh Yadav and Sushil Kumar, the two main characters in Indian wrestling’s latest controversy.

Narsingh qualified for August’s Rio Olympics while Sushil is, as of now, not going for the greatest sporting spectacle because he was nursing his shoulder injury when the 2015 World Championships took place in Las Vegas. Narsingh won his Olympics spot by winning the bronze medal there.

Ignoring the fact that he has not competed in the 74kg category for four years, Sushil now is stressing the need for a trial to decide who will be Rio-bound. It just doesn’t seem right to decide an Olympic participation in a knockout-game-like situation fought on a makeshift stage.

We adore our Olympic medal winners and Sushil deserves that adulation, but he seems to have let his emotions get the better of logic at a time when the Olympics are close at hand. This is where his present attitude takes a beating.

The public would not want to remember Sushil as a moaner and a wrestler who asks for one contest to decide who gets a Rio ticket despite Narsingh already earning it.

It will be a bit insensitive to term Sushil’s behaviour childish, because this is no petty matter. But it probably calls for some large heartedness from someone who is nothing short of a mentor to other wrestlers in the land.

Fellow grapplers Narsingh and Yogeshwar Dutt have always brought up the inspiration they have received from Sushil. They consider Sushil — rightly so — as someone who is right up there in the upper tiers of
greatness.

Sometimes, a captain has to send his most talented of players up the order in order to produce the best result for the team. It’s hard to tell a two-time Olympic medal-winner to move away. Sushil has still the opportunity to do that before being forced to do so. By doing that, he will be remembered as an on and off-field achiever because, on the larger canvas of success, there is also room for what you take in your stride.

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