The Sushil Kumar row could not have happened at a worse time for India. At a time when the leading wrestlers of the world are focused on going through the paces for the Rio Olympics, we have a two time Olympic medallist insisting on a trial between him and Narsingh Yadav for deciding who will represent India in the 74 kg category. This development comes as a big setback for India in their quest for a medal at the Rio Games.
According to a former international wrestler, the Sushil impasse is going to hurt both Sushil and Narsingh. “Look like that with the Olympics less than three months from now, both Sushil and Narsingh will be under tremendous pressure. Sushil will be under pressure to force a trial while Narsingh would not be focused on his Olympic preparation. It’s a real sad state of affairs and I think the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) should be more pro-active in settling this issue,” he said.
The fact that Sushil has moved heaven and earth to get a trial—even gone to the extent of knocking PM Narendra Modi’s doorstep and also the Delhi High Court –shows the extent of his desperation to make it to Rio. In fact, the High Court has set 27 as the date for the next hearing. Till then, the Wrestlng Federation of India (WFI) has refused permission for him to attend the national camp.
The moot point here is that ordering a fresh trial is going to be grossly unfair to Narsingh Yadav. “After all he (Narsingh) has earned the right to represent India by clinching the bronze medal at the World Championships. Let’s not forget that Sushil could not even compete in this event due to an injury. So if the trials were to take place, I think it would be unfair to Narsingh,” said a former Wrestler Federation of India (WFI) official. Another factor which goes in favour of Narsingh is the fact that he has always competed in the 74 kg category. Experts feel that while Sushil made the switch to this category sometime back, Narsingh has the better credentials to represent the country as he has been competing in this category for a long time. So I think for me Narsingh would be the ideal choice to represent India,” said a former international wrestler.
On his part, the WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was adamant that despite personally meeting Sushil and having heard his case on Wednesday, the wrestling body was not convinced about holding a trial.
“There’s no question of us getting convinced. We have heard him and we will submit our points to the High Court and let them decide,” Singh said. He further went on to say that, “We won’t allow Sushil to be in the national camp until the next High Court hearing on 27 May.”