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Wrestler Sushil Kumar set for Rio slugfest, wishes to carry on till 2020

New Delhi: India's only double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar says he is raring to compete in his fourth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro later this year and wishes to remain fit for another four years to make the 2020 edition.


Sushil Kumar. Pic/AFP

Sushil had earlier hinted that the Rio Olympics would be his last but now he is very much open to a fifth Olympic appearance in Tokyo 2020. The 32-year-old's longtime friend and fellow Yogeshwar Dutt has already made it clear that Rio will be his final Olympic appearance.

"I don't remember saying that Rio will be my last Olympics. That is not my wish. My wish is to keep competing as long as I can and why not 2020 Olympics if I am able to maintain fitness. Jab taq body fit hain tab taq khelte rahenge (I will keep wrestling as long as my body holds)," Sushil told PTI after the launch of his brainchild Sushil4Sports, an initiative aimed at supporting athletes from various disciplines.

Sushil will have to beat Narsingh Yadav in the men's 74kg trials to reach Rio. Narsingh has already earned India an Olympic quota place by winning a bronze in the World Championship in Las Vegas in September last year.

Is he feeling the pressure of trials? "It is very simple as far Narsingh and I are concerned. Whoever wins the trial will go to Rio. We have trained together for many years now and we are friends. Everytime there is a different situation (for qualifying). I qualified at the last moment in 2012 while I had secured my berth much earlier for the 2008 and 2004 Olympics.

"All I can say is that I am fully fit now. I will be part of the national camp starting day after in Sonepat. After that guruji (coach Satpal) has charted a two-month program in USA where I will train under a specialist men's 74kg coach," he said.

Sushil also opened up on his controversial absence from the recently held Pro Wrestling League. The organisers went as far as saying that the champion wrestler pulled out of the League last minute as his priorities had changed. "People who know me know that I am a very simple man.

Once there was renovation going on in the stadium (Chhatrasal Stadium here) but still I used to train here. I still sleep on the floor. Pro Wrestling League has come now, I have been wrestling since 94. They should only speak after knowing about the kind of person I am. I had gone to train in Georgia only to prepare myself for the League but I got injured and had to pull out," he said.

Talking about the overall health of Indian sports ever since he won a historic bronze in Beijing 2008, Sushil added: "There has been a huge improvement at least in Olympic sports.

Besides the government, which is already supporting us immensely, I would want more companies to come forward. All I can say is that we seem to be on the right track and hopefully India will be a force to reckon with in the coming 5-10 years.

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