It took a while for the formal announcement to come, but Sushil4Sports, set up by India’s only double-Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to help aspiring sportspersons, was finally launched on Wednesday.
HT had carried the news in September last year of Sushil registering his foundation to help budding athletes in their training with expert guidance, and support them in difficult times like injuries.
“I wanted to do this for a while now because I realise how many of us need to be supported when we are down. Even I need help today despite the fact that I am an established athlete. I hope we can help as many as possible with this initiative,” he said during the official launch at the Chhatrasal Stadium.
Citing the example of wrestler Anil Kumar, who won the Cadet World Championship title in Sarajevo last year, Sushil added the real help is needed “at the bottom of the pile”.
“Anil has won a world medal, but still has no job to support his family… they don’t have a pucca house.
“We have to help such athletes. In fact, we will pick athletes from school games-level so that they don’t struggle as some of us had to,” added Sushil.
The foundation also disclosed the names of seven athletes who have been signed up under the programme. Prominent among them are Beant Singh — who was initially mentored by Sushil for sometime at the Chhatrasal Stadium — and established stars such as wrestler Amit Kumar, winner of silver at World Championships, and compound archer Abhishek Verma.
But, as promised, he has also signed up those who really need all the assistance. The foundation has taken under its wings Neetu Sarkar, once a child bride and now a mother of two, who won a national medal in wrestling despite her travails. Also, para-athlete Bharat Kumar has been promised help. Initially 20 sportspersons from the field of wrestling, athletics, boxing, paralympics and other sports will be taken under the umbrella. In addition, 100 junior sportspersons will be signed up with the help of various federations.