Sushil Kumar opts out of WFI trials, Tokyo hopes on razor’s edge

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, March 15

India’s sole two-time Olympics medallist in an individual sport, Sushil Kumar, will not take part in the trials to select the freestyle wrestling team for the Asian Olympic qualifier next month.

Sushil has informed the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) that he will not participate in the trials, scheduled to be held here at the KD Singh Jadhav Stadium tomorrow. The Asian Olympic qualifier is scheduled to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from April 9 to 18. “I will never take part in any event if I am not fully fit. I have already informed the federation of my decision,” Sushil told The Tribune.

“I have hardly trained in the last two-three months as I was too busy to restore the credibility of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI). I have only started to train seriously now so participation was out of question,” he added.

Sushil’s decision to sit out the trials has given hope to other contenders in the 74kg division, including Narsingh Yadav and Gourav Baliyan.

If any wrestler wins the quota in Almaty, it would be curtains for Sushil’s Olympics dreams as the WFI rules mandate those winning the quota will be selected to represent the country. If no Indian wrestler qualifies in Almaty, then Sushil would have to come through a trial process to represent India at the World Olympic Qualifiers in Sofia in May.

This is the second instance in two months when Sushil has opted out of a competition. He sat out of the National Championships over the same issue.

SGFI was mired in controversy after it was discovered that the by-laws of the sports body were changed by forging Sushil’s signatures. Sushil blamed the then SGFI secretary general, Rajesh Mishra, for the mess.

Interestingly, Sushil opted out of the 2015 World Championships in Paris, which effectively ended his hopes for the Rio Olympics as Narsingh Yadav won a bronze medal in Paris.

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