Sushil Kumar pulls out of Nationals

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 25

The much-anticipated clash in the 74kg weight category between Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Pancham Yadav will not happen as two-time Olympics medallist Sushil has decided to miss the National Championships.

The 37-year-old Sushil, who is the president of the School Games Federation of India (AGFI), is busy trying to sort out certain issues in the federation. AGFI has been mired in controversy. The bylaws of the sports body were changed after Sushil’s signatures were allegedly forged. Sushil has blamed the body’s secretary general Rajesh Mishra for the mess.

Sushil is also in the process of registering an FIR against financial mismanagement. With his mind fully occupied with the legal process and following up on complaints against the secretary, Sushil’s training has taken a big hit.

“I am not fit so that’s why I have decided to pull out of the tournament,” Sushil told The Tribune on Friday. “Ideally, I would need a month and a half of training to be able to take part but since I am not there yet, there is no point in just participating,” he added.

The World Championships gold medallist has also written a letter to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), requesting them to drop him from the Registered Testing Pool (RTP), fuelling retirement rumours.

It is reliably learnt that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh too has written a letter to NADA supporting Sushil’s request.

For the record, inclusion and exclusion in the RTP is the sole domain of any National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), in this case the NADA.

Bajrang, Vinesh out too

Sushil won’t be the only high profile absentee at the Nationals. Bajrang Punia, one of the favourites for a podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics, is currently training in Michigan, USA, and is only expected to be back in the second week of February.

The men’s freestyle event at the Nationals will be held in Noida from January 23, while the Greco Roman will be held in Punjab in February. The women’s Nationals will be held in Agra on January 30-31.

Vinesh Phogat will also miss the Nationals as she will be out of the country on a 40-day training stint in Hungary and Poland. Her training camp was approved by the Sports Ministry on Friday.

“The camp will take place from December 28 to January 24 in Budapest, Hungary, and from January 24 to February 5 at the Olympic Training Centre in Szczryk, Poland, and will be conducted at a total approximate cost of Rs 15.51 lakh and includes airfare, local transportation, boarding and lodging charges and out of pocket allowance,” a (SAI) release said.

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