New Delhi: Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is likely to return to the mat for the first time in nearly two years, when India take part in the prestigious World Cup freestyle wrestling in March in California this year.
This will be India’s first appearance in the World Cup, following their fine performance in the World Championships, where they finished seventh.
According to Wrestling Federation of India sources, both of India’s medallists in the London Olympics – Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt – will take part in the World Cup, but in different weight categories, because of the changes made in classifications by the world body.
Unlike the Olympics, there are eight categories in the freestyle World Cup. Sushil is set to fight in the 70 kg while Yogeshwar would move to the 65 kg category in this meet.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sushil won the bronze in the 66 kg category. Four years later, he bagged the silver medal in the same weight class in London. In between, Sushil won the World Championship gold in Moscow.
“The World Cup in California would be an elite meet. Only the top 10 teams have been invited. Since Sushil and Yogeshwar have decided to take part, we would be there in full strength,” said an official.
“This is also going to be a big test for both of them,” he added. “Firstly, they would return to international arena after a considerable time. Moreover, they would compete in different weight categories.”
Ever since the London Olympics, Sushil has not taken part in any meet though he accompanied the Indian squad to the World Championships. Yogeshwar was out with injury for most part of 2013.
Next week, Sushil and Yogeshwar would travel to Colorado Springs in the US for a preparatory camp. Later, they would take part in the Dave Shultz Memorial tournament at the same venue from January 29 to February 1. Some of world’s top wrestlers are expected to participate. Sushil had once won this tournament.