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 some of the greatest sporting arenas. But it was not a nice sight to see one of the most 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. Young wrestlers dared to dream massive. They had somebody whom they may relate to exhibiting the means ahead. The Chhatrasal Stadium turned the mecca of Indian wrestling with lots of of younger girls and boys with massive goals trying up to Sushil.

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

Sushil isn’t typically spoken about in the identical breath as some greats from different sports activities however his affect on Indian wrestling is as massive because it may get. As many as 3 wrestlers from the Chhatrasal can be taking part in the Tokyo Games this 12 months. From 3 wrestlers in 2008, India will subject its greatest wrestling contingent – 8 — at the upcoming Games.

The much-loved Pahlawan

At the peak of his profession, Sushil made certain success didn’t get to his head. At least it appeared in order Sushil at all times made certain he had time for followers who thronged stadiums to catch a glimpse of him. Sushil was there to not simply help 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 buyers and advertisers who had been related to the help 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 may afford to help just one of their children pursuing wrestling and his cousin had to quit his goals to help Sushil’s. At 14, Sushil joined the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi. In only a 12 months, he gained a gold medal at the World Cadet Games, exhibiting indicators that he was set for better issues.

When Sushil fought in opposition to odds for Olympic glory

Sushil’s Olympic journey didn’t start on a very good observe as the then 21-year-old misplaced in the first spherical of the 60kg occasion at the Athens Games. But Sushil grew from energy to energy in the following years. He informed the world to preserve watching out for him by profitable medals at the continental stage on a constant foundation. He had warmed up to the Beijing Games in 2008 with the Asian Games bronze in 2006 and the Asian Championships silver in 2007.

At the Beijing Games, Sushil moved up to the 66kg class however he suffered an opening-round defeat. But by way of repechage, Sushil managed to give himself a shot at the bronze medal. Not many can overlook his bronze medal bout in opposition to Kazakhstan’s Leonid Spiridonov. In the dying moments of the bout, Sushil got here up with the unforgettable scissors transfer — a daring try, given he had failed to execute it in the identical bout.

History was created. Sushil ended India’s 56-year-long watch for a wrestling medal at the Games as he had develop into the first wrestler to win a medal at the greatest stage since KD Jadhav in 1952.

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

However, a shoulder damage had threatened his 2012 London Olympics participation. But Sushil didn’t quit and rallied in opposition to odds to qualify for the Olympics whereby he gained silver to develop into the first Indian athlete to win two particular person medals at the Games.

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

Tip of the iceberg: The homicide case

Once the torchbearer of Indian wrestling, Sushil is now being seen as somebody who has damage the popularity of the sport in India. While fairly just a few on the exterior had been shocked when the information of Sushil’s alleged involvement in a homicide, individuals who had intently adopted his life in the latest previous have mentioned 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 May 23. He has been accused of homicide after a 23-year-old wrestler, who educated at the Chhatraasal Stadium died in a brawl on May 4.

Sagar was one of these younger wrestlers who landed up at Chhatrasal 8 years in the past with goals of emulating his guru, in accordance to his father. “The one who murdered my son does not deserve to be called a guru,” the deceased wrestler’s mom mentioned 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 in the homicide case has introduced to the fore the ugly wrestler-criminal nexus in Delhi’s underworld. Delhi Police had mentioned they had been investigating ties between the wrestler and needed criminals. India Today reported on Wednesday that Sushsil’s life is at risk at the jail due to his alleged hyperlinks with criminals.

This isn’t the first time Sushil has been in the information for the flawed causes. It all began to floor in 2016 when Sushil failed to seal a berth for the Rio Olympics. Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was chosen to symbolize India at the 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 ignored. Narsingh’s claims weren’t proved however the episode undoubtedly damage Sushil’s popularity.

Quite just a few wrestlers, who had a very good rapport with the adorned wrestler, began leaving the Chhatrasal, sad with the means Sushil, backed by his father-in-law Satpal, ran the iconic stadium. Sushil’s appointment as Additional Director of the stadium after his father-in-law’s retirement in 2016 got here beneath the scanner as he was nonetheless actively representing India at the highest stage. It emerged that Satpal interfered in issues even after his retirement and wrestlers who went in opposition to Sushil had been requested to go away the stadium.

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

Take the 2018 episode involving Parveen Rana, who took to the mat and challenged Sushil in a trial for a Commonwealth 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” in opposition to him.

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

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

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