Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is Tihar jail’s new fitness coach | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is Tihar jail’s new fitness coach

By, New Delhi
Mar 12, 2022 07:02 AM IST

Prison officers added that at least 10 inmates have joined Sushil Kumar’s classes, which are held inside the jail complex.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail, has started working as a wrestling and a fitness coach for prison inmates, officers aware of the matter said.

Sushil Kumar also has a team of other amateur trainers, who assist him. The officer said there are theory classes too, where the former wrestling star gives tips on the importance of fitness and counsels other prisoners. (Getty Archive)
Sushil Kumar also has a team of other amateur trainers, who assist him. The officer said there are theory classes too, where the former wrestling star gives tips on the importance of fitness and counsels other prisoners. (Getty Archive)

Prison officers added that at least 10 inmates have joined Kumar’s classes, which are held inside the complex. Earlier, Kumar was only exercising recreationally and some inmates such as former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid were reportedly training with him.

“Kumar’s classes for prisoners started formally last week, as part of the prison’s extra-curricular activities. We expect number of prisoner-students to increase in the coming days. Kumar had met the jail superintendent and offered to start a fitness centre inside the jail,” said a prison officer.

Extra-curricular activities in prison can include music classes, painting school, working in the manufacturing units (such as jute, candles and perfumes). When formally set up, these activities are monitored by prison officers.

Reports, including an assessment of the impact of such activities on prisoners’ mental health, are sent to the jail superintendent regularly. Prison officers encourage inmates to take part in the activities to ensure that they do not slip into depression.

A second prison officer said Kumar also has a team of other amateur trainers, who assist him. The officer said there are theory classes too, where the former wrestling star gives tips on the importance of fitness and counsels other prisoners.

“They have not been given any equipment as it is against the prison rules. They make use of what they can. A bucket of water or a stone in the garden could be used as a substitute for a weight. Earlier he would only exercise in his cell but seeing that some prisoners had also started exercising with him in their own cells. This has now been formally started as an activity for other prisoners too. They run, do push-ups and other different forms of exercise, which help in reducing body mass. Prisoners are excited because a celebrity is training them,” the second officer added.

Advocate Pradeep Rana, Kumar’s counsel, confirmed the wrestler had started the classes in prison. He said, “I spoke to him over video conference and he said he was encouraging other prisoners on the importance of fitness. Sushil (Kumar) is doing what he can to spend time behind bars. What can a man do to utilise the time when he has been framed for a crime?”

Kumar, who won medals at the Beijing and London Olympics, is facing charges of murdering 23-year-old wrestler Sagar Dhankad inside Chhatrasal stadium. Delhi Police in their charge sheet said that Sushil Kumar killed Dhankar last year because his ego was bruised by rumours of his diminishing clout and he wanted to re-establish his authority among younger athletes. Kumar’s lawyers have denied Delhi police’s allegations.

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