New Delhi: Millions of fans across the country are hoping that Sushil Kumar does a Beijing at the London Olympics. But very few know about the struggles that the champion grappler had to go through before earning the cherished Olympic berth.
The wrestler, who won bronze medal in 66kg at Beijing Games, was not in the best frame of mind due to his father’s illness. Such was his mental state that he could not even defend his World championship title. Though he failed to clinch an Olympic spot in the qualifying event at Kazakhstan, he finally booked the berth by winning the world qualifier in China in April.
“Last year, Sushil’s father was diagnosed with cancer and it left him totally upset,” revealed one of the coaches. “It definitely had an impact on his performance. We were all worried but couldn’t say much as it was his family matter. To make matters worse, Sushil also suffered a few injuries during that time,” he added.
Those even with little knowledge of Indian wrestling will be aware just how much the former world champion worships his father, Diwan Singh, for making him the wrestler that he is. After Diwan was diagnosed with the disease, he was taken to a local cancer hospital for treatment.
“Luckily, Sushil’s father’s health improved and the doctors assured he would be out of danger. At the same time, Sushil’s performance graph was also on the rise and he did a great job in China,” the coach said.
Sushil admitted his father’s health was a big worry for the entire family. “Now I am going to London with a relieved mind. I am hoping to win another medal and show it to my father,” he said.
The five-member wrestling team were back in the country after a rigorous, training camp in Colorado Springs, US and will be heading for Minsk, Belarus, on Thursday for another two weeks of training before their competition begins in London.
“All five of us have the potential to win medals. We have beaten the top wrestlers from other countries while qualifying for London. We are confident of returning with more medals this time,” said Sushil.
The other members of the team are: Yogeshwar Dutt, Narsingh Yadav, Amit Kumar and Geeta.