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My focus is on winning a medal for India: Sushil Kumar

Uncertainty has been the key word of 2013 for Sushil Kumar. The wrestler, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, seemed on course to make a comeback at the Budapest World Championships in September. However, he had to pull out at the last minute owing to fitness issues.

Sushil Kumar
Sushil Kumar. Pic/AFP.

Off the mat too, uncertainty dogged Sushil. First, wrestling was dropped from the 2020 Olympic Games and then the international wrestling body, FILA, decided to do away with his weight-class (66-kg) from the 2016 Olympics, thereby forcing Sushil, who won the bronze medal at Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012, to contemplate a life-altering change.

“I spent a lot of time last year thinking about how to emerge from the injury and get back to competing on the world stage again,” Sushil told MiD DAY yesterday. A fit-again Sushil admits that he can’t wait for 2014 to begin.

“I have fully recovered from the shoulder injury. There are a lot of big competitions this year like the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (July), the World Championships in Tashkent (September)and the Incheon Asian Games (September-October). So my focus is on doing well and winning a medal for the country,” he said.

Uphill task
However, it seems likely that Sushil’s biggest challenge in the coming year will to be adapt to the new weight-class. While his coach Satpal Singh believes he should compete in the 65-kg category, another coach Yashvir Singh wants the grappler to move up to the 74-kg category. For now, however, that is the last thing on Sushil’s mind as he prepares for his first event since the 2012 London Olympics.

He said: “I have not decided yet whether I will compete in 65-kg or 74-kg. I, along with my coaches, will make a decision after the Dave Schultz Memorial International tournament at the end of January.

Switching to either weight-class will not be easy as many alterations will have to be made. One thing is for sure, because of this rejigging, the level of competition will increase. But I will manage.” Of that, he is certain.

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