Image of Indian struggle tarnished due to accusations against Sushil
At the height of his prowess, Sushil Kumar single-handedly elevated Indian wrestling to unprecedented heights, but as police seek him out in a murder case, the sport’s image has taken as many hits as that of the pioneer grappler.
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.
The Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) is concerned that the good reputation built over the years with extraordinary international performances, many of which were given by Sushil himself, has been ruined.
“Yes, 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,” said Vinod Tomar, deputy secretary of WFI. said PTI.
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.
However, the fraternity is now in shock as police issued a ‘Circular of Vigilance’ (LoC) against the champion wrestler on Monday, who is nowhere to be found since the brawl that led to the death of a young wrestler.
The incident came at a time when the Indian wrestling is celebrating its highest number of quotas – eight – for the Olympics. The anticipation of an all-time best performance at the Tokyo Games is hard to miss.
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.
“Not 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.
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.
A source at the stadium said prominent wrestlers like Yogeshwar and Bajrang left the facility because they “were being targeted by Sushil’s camp for not following their line.”
1982 Asian Games champion Satpal Singh, coach and stepfather of Sushil, was in charge of the stadium until 2016 before retiring as additional manager.
After that, Sushil was appointed OSD and it is believed that this move was aimed at keeping the stadium in the grip of the family.
“Sushil, who is employed there in the railway delegation, calls the blows. If you don’t listen to him or do as he suggests, he will quietly start to harass you,” the source said. .
“People are afraid to say anything. They come for a career, not to engage in politics. So they have found it convenient to leave rather than tolerate stadium politics,” the source said.
PTI attempted to contact Sushil, family members and friends for their version of events, but their cell phones were turned off.
The gravity of the current situation is enormous, but Sushil is no stranger to controversy either.
In 2016, when WFI chose Narsingh Pancham Yadav to represent India at the Rio Games. He later failed a doping test and accused Sushil of playing a role in doping his food, a charge that turned out to be false.
In the 2018 Commonwealth Games Trials, when Sushil beat Praveen Rana in the final, supporters on both sides exchanged blows outside the stadium.
Rana later alleged that the fight was repeatedly interrupted at Sushil’s request and that officials were also threatened and that he was ultimately awarded to the 2010 world champion.
Sushil is also the chairman of the Indian School Games Federation (SGFI), which was in the news for all the wrong reasons. He alleged that the secretary of SGFI had forged his signature to change the statutes of the organization and had also committed irregularities.
He filed an FIR against the secretary in December last year and was re-elected chairman of the body in March after new votes on the leadership of the sports ministry.