Sushil Kumar, at the height of his powers, single-handedly propelled Indian wrestling to new heights, but as police search for him in connection with a murder case, the sport's reputation has taken a hit equal to that of the trailblazing grappler. Sushil's international success sparked a movement and left an enduring legacy of inspiration. The reserved grappler from Baprola village in Najafgarh is India's only world champion in the sport (2010).

He is also the only person in Olympic history to win two individual medals.

Sushil's stellar international image, which he built over the years with spectacular results, many of which he gave himself, has been tarnished, according to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Also Read: Virat Kohli and other India players get first shot of Covid-19 vaccination

"Yes, I must say that this has harmed the reputation of Indian wrestling. We, on the other hand, have nothing to do with what wrestlers do off the mat. We are worried about their success on the mat "According to PTI, WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar said.

Sushil's bronze medal in wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics put an end to India's 56-year wait for an Olympic medal. Following that, Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta and Babita Phogat, their cousin Vinesh, Rio bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, and World medalists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, and Deepak Punia rose to prominence in Indian wrestling.

The wrestling community is now in shock after the police released a 'Look-out Circular' (LoC) against the champion wrestler, who has been missing since the brawl that resulted in the death of a young wrestler. The incident occurred at a time when Indian wrestling is celebrating its most quotas — eight for the Olympics in its history. The hope for a best-ever showing at the Tokyo Olympics is high is hard to miss.

Sushil's involvement in a brawl outside the Chhatrasal stadium on May 4 that resulted in the death of 23-year-old Sagar Rana is being investigated by the police. "Not only that, but the incident in February had tarnished the reputation of Indian wrestling as well. Wrestlers were once regarded only as a bunch of goons, so the sport has had a difficult time establishing a reputation "Tomar sighed.

The WFI official was referring to coach Sukhwinder Mor's role in the murder of five people in Jaat College in Haryana's Rohtak district, including fellow coach Manoj Malik. Sukhwinder was apprehended in New Delhi in a joint operation by Delhi and Haryana police after reportedly killing five people because of his personal hatred with Malik.

Tomar said WFI "weren't mulling any such move as of now" when asked if Sushil will be removed from the annual contracts list. In December 2018, Sushil was awarded an A grade contract, along with four others, for an annual financial support of Rs 30 lakh. He hasn't participated in an international event since losing in the first round of the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan.

Also Read: England vs Sri Lanka 2021: 2 Sri Lankan players test positive for Coronavirus

The reputation of Chhatrasal Stadium, which has delivered some of India's best wrestlers, including Sushil, Yogeshwar, Bajrang, and now Tokyo-bound Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, has been tarnished.

Famous wrestlers like Yogeshwar and Bajrang, according to a source at the stadium, left because "they were targeted by Sushil's camp for not toeing their line."

Satpal Singh, Sushil's coach and father-in-law, was in charge of the stadium from 1982 until 2016, when he retired as additional manager.Sushil was then named as an OSD, a decision that is thought to have been made to keep the stadium under the family's control.

"Sushil, who is on Railways' deputation," the source said, "calls the shots," adding that if you don't listen to him or do what he suggests, he would secretly start threatening you.

"People are afraid to say something because they came to make a career, not to engage in politics," the source said. "They find it more convenient to quit than to endure the stadium politics."

PTI attempted to contact Sushil, his relatives, and friends for their accounts of the incidents, but all of their phones were turned off. The current situation is extremely serious, but Sushil is no stranger to controversy. Narsingh Pancham Yadav was selected by the WFI to represent India at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He later failed a drug test and accused Sushil of spiking his food, which was later proven to be untrue.Outside the stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials, when Sushil defeated Praveen Rana in the final, supporters from both camps exchanged blows.

Rana later said that the bout was repeatedly disrupted at Sushil's request, and that the officials were also assaulted, before it was eventually awarded to the 2010 World Champion. Sushil also serves as the President of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI), which recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He said that the SGFI secretary fabricated his signature to amend the organisation's bylaws and committed other irregularities.

In December of last year, he filed a FIR against the secretary, and in March, he was re-elected President of the body after new polls were conducted under the direction of the Sports Ministry.

You Might Also Like