Success at Olympics and World Wrestling Championship for Sushil Kumar comes at the cost of blood and sweat, many tireless days and nights, and years, tells …..
After long silence and speculations for the participation of Indian wresters at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, star wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt have heaved a sigh of relief as there was talk that the wrestling event itself would be out of the Olympic Games.
Sushil Kumar will compete in 74 kg category; Dutt will display his calibre in 65 kg category. Sushil, who was recently blessed with twin boys, is an Indian World Champion who won the gold medal in the 66 kg freestyle competition at the FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships, a silver medal in the Men’s 66 kg Freestyle Wrestling event at the 2012 London Olympics and a bronze medal in the Men’s 66 kg Freestyle Wrestling event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This made Sushil the first Indian to win back-to-back individual Olympic medals.
A Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee in 2009 (India’s highest honour for sportspersons), he was the final baton bearer who handed the Queen’s Baton to Prince Charles in the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
Born in Baprola, Delhi, Kumar’s father Diwan Singh, was a DTC bus driver and mother a housewife. He drew inspiration to be a wrestler from his cousin Sandeep and his father. Sandeep later quit wrestling due to some family issues. His formative years started at 14 when he incepted training at an akhada (wrestling school) in the Chhatrasal Stadium.
With meager money and low standard training facilities for wrestling in India, even for the 2008 Olympic team, his family took care of his dietary regime by sending him tinned milk, ghee and vegetables.
A vegetarian, Kumar is presently serving the Indian Railways as an Assistant Commercial Manager.
Success doesn’t come in handy so easily and this happened with Sushil too. It needs blood and sweat, many tireless days and nights, and years. Indian pehlwans Yashvir and Ramphal mentored him initially and later on he received the tutelage of Arjuna awardee Satpal and then at the Railways camp by Coach Gyan Singh. Along with many other hardships, Sushil’s training regime includes sharing a single mattress and dormitories with fellow wrestlers. On his 18th birthday he became a state champion and he won gold medal at the World Cadet Games in 1998. The year 2000 he clinched a gold medal in the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship.