NEW DELHI: Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar has decided to skip the selection trials for the Asian Championships and the Asian leg of the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers, which are scheduled to be held at the K D Jadhav indoor wrestling hall on Tuesday.
In the absence of Sushil, all eyes in the highly-competitive freestyle 74kg category will be on comeback-man Narsingh Yadav, Jitendra Kumar, Gourav Baliyan and reigning national champion Sandeep Singh Mann.
Sushil confirmed on Monday that he will be opting out of the trials due to the crucial training time lost in clearing the mess in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI), which he’s heading as a president.
The London Olympics silver medallist was unanimously elected the SGFI’s chief last week for his second term after the sports ministry told the school body to hold fresh elections by declaring the earlier electoral process conducted in February “null and void”.
“I got a call from the wrestling federation this morning enquiring about my participation in trials. I told them that I won’t be able to participate because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind due to the ongoing mess in the SGFI for the past three-four months. The forgery committed in my name took a toll on my mental health and I wasn’t focusing 100 percent on my training. Now that I have started practising again, any event or Tokyo qualifier coming up next will see my participation. It has always been my mantra that I don’t compete in tournaments without proper training. When you are performing for the country, you want to be fully fit and committed,” Sushil said in a video message released to the media.
Sushil confirmed that he won’t be retiring from the wrestling scene anytime soon and will continue participating in events coming up next. The Olympic qualifier will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan from April 9 to 11 followed by the Asian Championships from April 13 to 18 at the same venue.
The final event (World Olympic qualifier) is scheduled in Sofia, Bulgaria from May 6 to 9 and Sushil informed that he’s looking forward to the meet. But, in case if someone manages to win a quota place in the 74kg category at the Almaty Olympic qualifier, then Sushil’s chances to compete at the Tokyo Games would stand all but over.
The trials on Tuesday will be held in three Olympic weight categories in freestyle — 74kg, 97kg and 125kg and all six weights in the Greco-Roman – 60kg, 67kg, 77kg, 87kg, 97kg and 130kg.