Wrestler Sushil denied direct ticket to World Championships, to undergo trials
Unhappy with the performance of Sushil Kumar at the recently concluded Asian Games, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) have no plans to give the double Olympic medallist direct entry for the October 20-28 World Championships in Budapest.
Instead, the three-time Commonwealth Games champion will compete at the national selection trials to be held next week to qualify for the global meet.
Sushil was a favourite for gold in Jakarta but lost his opening men’s 74kg bout to suffer a humiliating exit.
“We had exempted him from trials because he gave us an assurance of winning gold. Since he hasn’t performed up to expectations we aren’t giving him direct entry this time,” WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said.
In the first week of July, Sushil’s fitness was questioned after he failed to progress beyond first round at the Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia.
Though the 35-year-old had excelled in 66kg category at both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, he didn’t show any remarkable performance after switching to 74kg despite winning gold at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where the competition was expected to be easier.
“Lack of competitive experience in 74kg was another reason for his poor performance in Asian Games,” said a national level coach on condition of anonymity.
Besides Sushil, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia were given direct entry for the Asian Games. Vinesh and Bajrang returned with gold but Sakshi, like Sushil, failed to impress. Sakshi too will have to compete in the trials. “We might give direct entry to Vinesh and Punia for Worlds, but in other weight categories trials will be held,” said the WFI chief.