Sushil Kumar's coach talks about Narsingh Yadav's chances at the Rio Olympics
Sushil Kumar's coach Satpal Singh 'predicts' Narsingh Yadav's fate, after High Court dismisses Kumar's plea for a trial to wrestle at Rio Olympics, says he's convinced nation won't forgive him if he returns empty-handed
Satpal Singh knows a trick or two about body-slamming a man to the floor, given the fact he grappled his way to a gold (100 kg) at the 1982 Delhi Asian Games. However, currently, even he has no clue how to deal with the manner in which his ward, son-in-law and two-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler Sushil Kumar is being pinned to the floor by a sports system which is as complicated as it is competitive.
Former India wrestler Satpal Singh with Sushil Kumar at Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2015. Pic/AFP
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court dismissed Sushil's plea seeking a selection trial in the 74 kg freestyle category for a spot in India's Rio Olympic-bound wrestling contingent. Compatriot Narsingh Yadav won India's quota with a bronze at the World Championships last year, and the court preferred not to interfere in the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) decision to send Narsingh for the August 5-21 Games in Brazil.
However, Satpal, nicknamed Mahabali for his fierce strength, is convinced that it's unfair to send Narsingh without a trial. "Sushil is not saying that he wants to go to Rio. All he's asking for is a trial. He wants to compete with Narsingh to ensure that the best man represents India at Rio. If Narsingh goes to Rio after beating Sushil at the trial, it will only boost his confidence and India's medal prospects, but if Narsingh goes to Rio without fighting Sushil and returns empty-handed, India will never forgive him for having denied the country's best wrestler a shot at the Games," Satpal told mid-day from New Delhi yesterday.
Satpal has been following Sushil's training regime closely in the last few months and claims there is no man in India who can stand up to his ward at the moment. "Sushil currently trains with India's 120 kg national champion Sumit Kumar, and believe me, Sushil literally manhandles him on the mat. Sushil is in the form of his life, even better than the form that saw him win a bronze at Beijing (2008) and silver at London (2012)," added Satpal.
Narsingh Yadav at the Sports Authority of India complex at Kandivli in May. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
Injuries have seen Sushil miss competitions in the run-up to the Olympic year, and some believe that this has gone against him in this Olympic selection fiasco. Satpal countered: "At Sushil's level, match situations are not required, only persistent and tough training. And that's what he has been doing for seven to eight hours a day in Delhi for the last nine months, away from his family and children."
'Sushil deserves it'
Satpal said he cannot believe why the WFI, for whom Sushil has brought international glory, is not on his side. "Sushil Kumar stands for Indian wrestling and vice versa. WFI know this, yet I don't know why they are not supporting him. They expected him to participate in the lucrative Pro Wrestling League (10–27 December, 2015), but he couldn't because he was injured then. Now, he is fit and ready to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, if only he is given the opportunity," remarked Satpal.