Sushil Kumar is one of the very high-profile Indian athletes outside cricket, along with his two Olympic medals setting him apart in a class of his own. His three consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals – Delhi (2010), Glasgow (2014) and now at CWG 2018 at Gold Coast, make him one of the very decorated men of India. However, he has been doing the news headlines in the recent past for the wrong reasons and his impasse with Narsingh Yadav for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was it all began. The 35-year-old was also plagued by injuries and his gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games can be an indication he is back to full fitness.
Even his selection for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games wasn’t without incident. He was picked after an ugly trial where his supporters and those of his rival Parveen Rana came to blows over which of the 2 deserved to be selected.
“Since I began wrestling my only aim was to represent the country and do well for it. I have always given my 100 percent on the mat whenever I was fit. I can’t change people’s mindset. I have nothing to prove to anyone,” Sushil had been quoted by news agency PTI.
“I have two Olympic medals. I have nothing to prove to anyone. But I have an unfulfilled dream and I came very close to it in 2012 (London Games where he won a silver). Personally, I think I owe it to the country to have gold at the Olympics,” he explained, stating that CWG 2018 will be his run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Sushil Kumar won his first CWG gold in 2010 in Delhi, in the 66kg freestyle category. He repeated the feat in the 2014 edition at Glasgow where he clinched gold in the 74kg final.
Sushil Kumar can be India’s only two-time individual medallist at the Olympics. He won bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics becoming the initial Indian to win a wrestling medal at the Olympics since 1952.Four years on, he improved on his position after winning silver in the 2012 London Olympics.