Indian wrestling’s image has been tarnished due to accusations against Sushil: WFI

NEW DELHI: At the peak of his prowess, Sushil Kumar single-handedly lifted Indian wrestling to unprecedented heights but as police looks for him in relation to a murder case, the sport’s image has taken as much a beating as that of the trailblazing grappler.
Sushil’s international success triggered a revolution and created an inspirational legacy. The reserved grappler from Najafgarh’s Baprola village is till date India’s only world champion (2010) in the sport. He is also the only one to claim two individual Olympic medals, an exceptional feat for a country which has seen very limited success at the Games.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is concerned that the good reputation built over the years with stupendous international performances, many of them given by Sushil himself, has been ruined.
“Yes, I must say that the image of Indian wrestling has got hurt badly by this. But we have nothing to do with what wrestlers do away from the mat. We are concerned with their on-mat performance,” WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
Sushil’s bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended India’s 56-year-long wait for an Olympic medal in wrestling.
The achievement had a tremendous impact as Indian wrestling witnessed the rise of Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta and Babita Phogat,
their cousin Vinesh, Rio bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and World medallists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia after that.
However, the fraternity is now shell-shocked as the police on Monday issued a ‘Look-out Circular’ (LoC) against the champion wrestler, who is untraceable since the brawl that led to the death of a young wrestler. The incident has come at a time when Indian wrestling is celebrating its highest number of quotas — eight — for the Olympics.
The anticipation of a best ever performance at the Tokyo Games is hard to miss.

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