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From Olympic glory to Delhi jail: Sushil Kumar, the face of Indian wrestling, falls from grace


With the Indian flag draped over his shoulders, Sushil Kumar has given us a number of proud moments at a number of the largest sporting arenas. But it surely was not a nice sight to see some of the adorned Indian athletes, together with his face lined by a towel, escorted out of a police station final Sunday, which by the way occurred to be the World Wrestling Day. Sushil Kumar’s fall from grace was telling, disheartening for hundreds of thousands who had idolised him.

The boy from Najafgarh had modified the panorama of wrestling in India. Younger wrestlers dared to dream large. That they had somebody whom they might relate to exhibiting the way in which ahead. The Chhatrasal Stadium grew to become the mecca of Indian wrestling with a whole bunch of younger girls and boys with large goals trying as much as Sushil.

Sushil Kumar is a two time Olympic medallist in wrestling. (Reuters Photograph)

Sushil isn’t usually spoken about in the identical breath as some greats from different sports activities however his impression on Indian wrestling is as large because it might get. As many as 3 wrestlers from the Chhatrasal might be collaborating within the Tokyo Video games this 12 months. From 3 wrestlers in 2008, India will subject its largest wrestling contingent – 8 — on the upcoming Video games.

The much-loved Pahlawan

On the peak of his profession, Sushil made positive success didn’t get to his head. At the very least it appeared in order Sushil at all times made positive he had time for followers who thronged stadiums to catch a glimpse of him. Sushil was there to not simply assist fellow wrestlers however inspired younger athletes from different wrestlers. He was, as a rule, obtainable on name for scribes and picked and selected his phrases throughout interactions with the media. The pehalwanji loved famous person standing and traders and advertisers who had been related to the assist wanted him to be their face.

Sushil had come from a household that struggled economically. His father, who was a driver, was a wrestler himself and he was a supply of inspiration for Sushil, who took to the mat proper from his early days. Sushil’s household might afford to assist solely one in every of their youngsters pursuing wrestling and his cousin had to surrender his goals to assist Sushil’s. At 14, Sushil joined the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi. In only a 12 months, he gained a gold medal on the World Cadet Video games, exhibiting indicators that he was set for higher issues.

When Sushil fought towards odds for Olympic glory

Sushil’s Olympic journey didn’t start on a superb word because the then 21-year-old misplaced within the first spherical of the 60kg occasion on the Athens Video games. However Sushil grew from energy to energy within the following years. He informed the world to maintain watching out for him by successful medals on the continental stage on a constant foundation. He had warmed as much as the Beijing Video games in 2008 with the Asian Video games bronze in 2006 and the Asian Championships silver in 2007.

On the Beijing Video games, Sushil moved as much as the 66kg class however he suffered an opening-round defeat. However by means of repechage, Sushil managed to provide himself a shot on the bronze medal. Not many can neglect his bronze medal bout towards Kazakhstan’s Leonid Spiridonov. Within the dying moments of the bout, Sushil got here up with the unforgettable scissors transfer — a daring try, given he had did not execute it in the identical bout.

Historical past was created. Sushil ended India’s 56-year-long watch for a wrestling medal on the Video games as he had grow to be the primary wrestler to win a medal on the largest stage since KD Jadhav in 1952.

It didn’t cease there. He gained the world wrestling championships in 2010, rallying towards an unruly native crowd in Russia to beat the native favorite within the gold medal match. In the identical 12 months, he additionally gained the Commonwealth Video games gold in entrance of the native followers, ascertaining his stardom on the mat.

Nonetheless, a shoulder damage had threatened his 2012 London Olympics participation. However Sushil didn’t surrender and rallied towards odds to qualify for the Olympics whereby he gained silver to grow to be the primary Indian athlete to win two particular person medals on the Video games.

He not simply realised his coach and mentor Satpal Singh’s goals however grew in stature and was equally revered within the Indian wrestling group.

Tip of the iceberg: The homicide case

As soon as the torchbearer of Indian wrestling, Sushil is now being seen as somebody who has damage the popularity of the game in India. Whereas fairly a couple of on the surface had been shocked when the information of Sushil’s alleged involvement in a homicide, individuals who had carefully adopted his life within the latest previous have stated they noticed it coming.

After having been on the run for over a fortnight, Sushil was arrested by Delhi Police from the nationwide capital on Might 23. He has been accused of homicide after a 23-year-old wrestler, who skilled on the Chhatraasal Stadium died in a brawl on Might 4.

Sagar was a type of younger wrestlers who landed up at Chhatrasal 8 years in the past with goals of emulating his guru, in keeping with his father. “The one who murdered my son does not deserve to be called a guru,” the deceased wrestler’s mom stated earlier this month.

Sushil’s tryst with controversies

Sushil’s fall from grace has been telling. The demise of Sagar Rana and the alleged involvement of Sushil within the homicide case has delivered to the fore the ugly wrestler-criminal nexus in Delhi’s underworld. Delhi Police had stated they had been investigating ties between the wrestler and needed criminals. India At the moment reported on Wednesday that Sushsil’s life is in peril on the jail as a result of his alleged hyperlinks with criminals.

This isn’t the primary time Sushil has been within the information for the improper causes. It began to floor in 2016 when Sushil did not seal a berth for the Rio Olympics. Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was chosen to characterize India on the Video games in 2016. had accused Sushil and his associates of spiking his meals after he was banned for doping after reaching the Brazilian capital for the quadrennial spectacle.

Sushil and Narsingh had competed for the Rio Olympics berth however the London Olympics silver medalist was neglected. Narsingh’s claims weren’t proved however the episode undoubtedly damage Sushil’s popularity.

Fairly a couple of wrestlers, who had a superb rapport with the adorned wrestler, began leaving the Chhatrasal, sad with the way in which Sushil, backed by his father-in-law Satpal, ran the long-lasting stadium. Sushil’s appointment as Extra Director of the stadium after his father-in-law’s retirement in 2016 got here underneath the scanner as he was nonetheless actively representing India on the highest stage. It emerged that Satpal interfered in issues even after his retirement and wrestlers who went towards Sushil had been requested to go away the stadium.

Sushil Kumar is on a 6-day remand. (PTI Photograph)

Take the 2018 episode involving Parveen Rana, who took to the mat and challenged Sushil in a trial for a Commonwealth Video games berth. Sushil gained the bouts and sealed the ticket to Gold Coast however Rana had accused Sushi’s supporters of beating him up after the trials “for daring to take the ring” towards him.

Sushil, the administrator, had additionally landed in bother throughout his stint because the President of Faculty Video games Federation of India – a task he took over from his father-in-law Satpal in 2016. The Sports activities Ministry had revoked official recognition, citing mismanagement and corruption.

Sushil is harmless till confirmed responsible. The police will examine his alleged position within the homicide. However Sushil’s legacy will definitely not be solely about his achievements on the mat anymore.

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