If there was any disappointment about Monday’s verdict, it wasn’t evident. A day after the Delhi high court judgement dismissing his plea for holding trials against Narsingh Yadav all but ended his hopes of taking part in the Rio Olympics, life went on as normal for two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.
Coincidentally, there was a mock trial held on Tuesday at the Chhatrasal Stadium, Sushil’s training base. “There won’t be any change in my life. Like every day I trained hard, I trained on the mat yesterday too when the judgment came. My duty is to train and train hard. I’ll keep doing that,” Sushil told HT.
“I stay happy and content. Whatever happens from here, it will be destiny. My job is to train hard should the situation arise that I may have to fight. In the meantime, I’ll try to stay healthy and fit and keep pulling pranks to break the rhythm… today we held a dummy trial bout between two former wrestlers, Rajbir pehelwan and Bhim pehelwan. It was great fun, we even posed for photographs with both of them before the fight,” he said.
The mention of Narsingh’s name didn’t change his mood. “Nothing changes between us. Wo mera chhota bhai hai (He is like my younger brother). Whenever I meet him, I give him a jhappi (hug). I’ll do that again. I went to court to demand trials, I did not do it to oppose him. Like me, he should concentrate on his training and not get distracted by this court issue,” he said.
The high court had dismissed Sushil’s plea for a trial seeking entry into the Rio Games. The court accepted the Wrestling Federation of India’s stand that 26-year-old Narsingh was a better bet in the men’s 74-kg freestyle category in the Olympics starting on August 5.
Kumar approached the court after his name went missing from the list of probables forwarded to the Indian Olympic Association. With Narsingh bagging the India quota in the 74-kg category, a debate erupted over whether trials should be held.
Kumar, who won both his bronze (Beijing 2008) and silver medals (London 2012) in the 66-kg weight division but had to move up due to a change in rules, demanded trials to decide the candidate for Rio.
No retirement now
When asked if there was any retirement plan, the answer was an emphatic no. “I’ll know when to stop. But if I have to prove myself again, I’ll not step back. I don’t need all this drama. I am not doing this to become an Olympian. My records speak for themselves. I did all this because I genuinely believe I have a chance to win a medal and that I have been wronged.”
Since the time the story broke about Sushil’s dimming hopes, supporters have thronged his base, some of them coming from as far away as Maharashtra. Some even suggested he should switch nationality to Nepal for the Rio Games.
“Supporters get emotional. I had to explain to him that as an Indian, we can’t do that. But this whole experience is very humbling for me. I never thought I’ll get support from the entire country on this issue. People came to support me from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and even Ballia (UP),” he said.
The next course of action by Sushil is yet to be decided. “I have left it to my guruji Mahabali Satpal to decide. I’ll train, that is what I am supposed to do,” he said. Satpal said they will decide whether to appeal against the high court judgement or not.