- Sushil Kumar is suffering from a shoulder injury and is yet to fully recover.
- He has opted out of the trials and requested the Wrestling Federation of India to postpone them.
- The trials hold significance as the winner of the trials would be on the wrestling team for three crucial tournaments- Ranking series, Asian Championships and the Olympic Qualification tournament.
Wrestler Sushil Kumar has opted out of the trials for the next’s month Asian Championships and the Olympic qualifying event (March 2020). Sushil Kumar, who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury fully, has also requested Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to postpone the trials.
After opting out of the trials scheduled for Friday, the 36-year-old submitted a medical certificate to the WFI and requested them to postpone the 76 kg category trials. “I have requested the federation to postpone the trials,” Sushil said.
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He adds, “I am recovering from an injury to my right shoulder and will not be fit for Friday’s trials. I have been preparing for it for a long time, so I hope the federation will take it into consideration and reschedule the trial.” It is highly unlikely that the federation will accept the two-time Olympic medallist’s request.
However, the assistant secretary of the WFI, Vinod Tomar, said the final decision will be made on Thursday (2 January). In the Bejing Olympics, 2008, Sushil won the bronze medal. He followed it up by winning the gold at the 2010 World Wrestling Championships, Russia.
Sushil Kumar became the first Indian (since independence) to win two individual Olympic medals when he won the silver medal in 2012 London Olympics. However, Sushil Kumar missed out the 2016 Rio Olympics. And if the WFI rejects his plea, Sushil could end up not participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The trials hold significance as the winner of the trials would be on the wrestling team for three crucial tournaments. Ranking series, Rome (25 to 28 January), Asian Championships (18 to 25 February) and the Olympic Qualification tournament, China (March).
The trials hold significance as the winner of the trials would be selected in the wrestling team for three crucial tournaments- Ranking series, Asian Championships and the Olympic Qualification tournament.
Of the four Olympic quota winners, only Bajrang Punia (65kg) has been exempted from trials due to his consistent performances. Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) will take part in the trials despite earning Olympic quotas and winning World Championship medals.
However, they will only be contending for the Rome ranking series and Asian Championship. Indian wrestlers can still qualify in the 74kg, 97kg and 125kg categories in men’s freestyle.
After winning the Commonwealth Games Gold, Sushil exited in the early rounds from Asian Games and 2019 World Championships. He hasn’t participated in any of the tournaments since then, including the national championships. 18-year-old Gaurav Baliyan has since then emerged as the country’s best wrestler in the 74-kg category.