Is it over for Sushil Kumar as Jitender Kumar seals Olympic Qualifiers spot?
Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil had skipped the continental event citing an injury
Jitender Kumar sealed his place in the Indian team for the Olympic Qualifiers with a silver medal at the Asian Championships here on Sunday, a result that could slam the Tokyo Games door on veteran Sushil Kumar. Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil had skipped the continental event citing an injury. A gold eluded India on the second day of the men’s freestyle competition with Deepak Punia (86kg) and Rahul Aware (61kg) finishing with bronze medals.
Up against Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov, Jitender showed tremendous defensive skill, but was lacking in attack. The Indian lost 1-3 to the defending champion. However, his performance was enough to convince the national federation that he should travel to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for the Olympic Qualifiers, without a re-trial. It means that Sushil, who also competes in 74kg, will have to wait and see how Jitender fares in Bishkek, where the finalists will directly qualify for the Tokyo Games.
If Jitender reaches the gold medal bout there, it will affect the prospect of Sushil, who has been struggling since the 2018 Asian Games.
If Jitender fails to seal an Olympic quota in Bishkek, the last chance would be through a World qualifying event in April. “I tried one move towards the end but could not execute it properly, it could have got me the gold. There are improvements in the my game and it could be seen. This silver is special. Now I will try harder to get Olympic quota,” said Jitender.
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