Sushil Kumar: What about my sweat & blood?
While the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) yesterday made it clear that they would not conduct a trial for Sushil Kumar to have a final shot at qualifying for the Rio Games, the double Olympic medallist felt the governing body should have informed him about their decision a year ago rather than giving him false hopes.
Last year, Narsingh Yadav staked his claim to represent India at the Rio Olympics after securing a quota place at the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas through a bronze in the 74kg category. Sushil missed that event due to an injury.
'Sacrificing my time'
"If the WFI felt that there would not be a trial then they should have told me one or two years ago. I would not have wasted my time working so hard and sacrificing my precious time away from the family. I would not have trained," Sushil told mid-day from New Delhi after a training session. Following the Delhi High Court's directive, a special WFI committee held a meeting with Sushil yesterday to provide clarity on who between Sushil and Narsingh will represent India in the 74kg freestyle category for August's Rio Games.
Sushil said he is getting mixed signals from the WFI after presenting his views to the committee. "I don't know why I feel I'm getting mixed signals from the WFI. On one hand they say that they appreciate my effort and achievements. On the other, they say that they can't be unfair to Narsingh. How is this being unfair to Narsingh?
"He is a wrestler and in wrestling we have been taught that whoever steps inside the ring against us, we must take him on. Narsingh has done well for India and I appreciate it, but a trial is the fair way to go. If I have been away from the ring due to injury, then that injury also has been caused while I've been training for my country," Sushil said.
Sushil's coach Satpal Singh and his father-in-law, who was also present in the meeting with WFI committee yesterday, said the wrestler was forced to approach the court. "We have had to take Indian wrestling to the courts of India and I feel very sad in doing so. Sushil is also very sad, but all we are asking is that India's greatest wrestler should get his due. Both of us are convinced that Sushil can win another medal for India at the Olympics," Satpal said. "We have nothing against Narsingh. He is also a son of India just like Sushil. We hold no bad feeling for him. All we are asking is for a trial and let the best man go to Rio," Satpal added.
Sushil, meanwhile, remained unfazed by the drama surrounding his qualification for Rio. "I'm not taking all this to heart and not letting it affect my head. All I'm asking for is a fair trial. Is that too much to ask for? Don't I deserve that much for the blood and sweat I have given my nation. "I'm a positive guy and I have faith in the system. I am working very hard. There is no let up in my training. The nation is behind me and I know that. It's the goodwill of the nation that will spur me on to a yet another Olympics, and hopefully another medal. Now it's up to the courts and WFI to give me a fair chance," Sushil signed off.