Charges against Sushil Kumar tarnished image of Indian wrestling: WFI
The Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) is concerned that the reputation has been built over the years with good performances at the international level due to charges against Sushil Kumar as police search for him in connection with a murder case.
Police on Monday released a ‘Look-out Circular’ (LoC) vs. Sushil Kumar, not found since the fight that led to the death of a young wrestler. Police are in the process of determining Sushil’s role in a May 4 brawl that led to the death of 23-year-old Sagar Rana outside Chhatrasal Stadium. The incident came at a time when the Indian wrestling is celebrating its highest number of quotas – eight – for the Olympics. The anticipation of a best performance ever at the Tokyo Games is hard to miss.
Sushil’s international success sparked a revolution and created an inspiring legacy. The reserved grappler from Baprola village in Najafgarh is so far India’s only world champion (2010) in this sport. He is also the only one to win two individual Olympic medals, an exceptional achievement for a country that has had very limited success at the Games.
âYes, I have to say that the image of Indian wrestling has been badly hurt by this. But we have nothing to do with what wrestlers do away from the mat. We are concerned about their performance on the mat,â said Vinod Tomar, deputy secretary of WFI. told the Press Trust of India.
Sushil’s bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended India’s 56-year wait for an Olympic wrestling medal.
The feat had a huge impact as the Indian wrestling witnessed the rise of Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta and Babita Phogat, their cousin Vinesh, Rio bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and world medalists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia after that.
âNot only that, but the incident in February had also tarnished the image of Indian wrestling. The sport struggled to make a name for itself because for a long time wrestlers were known only as a bunch of morons. “, lamented Tomar. The WFI official was referring to coach Sukhwinder Mor’s involvement in the murder of five people, including fellow coach Manoj Malik, at Jaat College in Rohtak district in Haryana.
Sukhwinder reportedly shot dead five people over his personal enmity with Malik and was arrested in New Delhi as part of a joint Delhi and Haryana police operation.
Will WFI remove Sushil from the list of annual contracts?
When asked if WFI would remove Sushil from the list of annual contracts, Tomar said they “are not considering such a decision at this time.”
Sushil received an A-grade contract in December 2018 with four others for annual financial support of Rs 30 lakh.
However, he has not taken part in any international event since his loss in the first round at the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.
The image of Chhatrasal Stadium, which has given India its best wrestlers like Sushil, Yogeshwar, Bajrang and now Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, has also been battered.