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Sushil aims for Incheon medal

- ‘Lack of recent exposure not a deterrent’
Deepika Kumari and Sushil Kumar with Chumuro, one of the mascots for the Incheon Games, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Sushil Kumar has not participated in any international event since his historic silver medal show in the 2012 London Olympics. He pulled out of the Budapest World Championships last year and skipped the prestigious Dave Schultz meet in Colorado Springs in January.

Sushil is also not a part of the Indian team that is currently taking part in the World Cup in Los Angeles.

Yet, on Tuesday, the only Indian to win two back-to- back individual Olympic medals, said he was hoping for a medal-winning performance at the Incheon Asian Games in September.

Apart from his lack of recent international exposure, Sushil would also have to participate in the 70 kg weight category because of the new rules. Sushil won both his Olympic medals and the World Championship gold in the 66 kg category.

In the 2016 Olympics, Sushil might have to opt for yet another weight category as there would be only six weight categories for freestyle wrestlers.

“Asian Games has a 70 kg category, Commonwealth Games and World Championships also have the same categories. I won’t face much problems there,” said Sushil.

“In the Olympics, it’s different but I have time on my side. I think I can be ready in two years,” added Sushil.

In the last three months, Sushil said he had adjusted to the new weight category and was confident of a good show in the Asian Games.

“The weight fluctuations in different events can be disturbing for an athlete. But you have to abide by the Fila rules. I got a bronze in the 2006 Asian Games. I was at my peak in 2010 and became the world champion. But I missed the 2010 Asian Games. I want to make up for it at Incheon,” said Sushil.

Asked whether the lack of international exposure in the last couple of years could hurt his Asian Games prospects, Sushil said: “I don’t think so. I think one foreign training stint and two tournaments should suffice. The federation will decide in a few days the training and competition schedule of the wrestlers for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

“There is going to be a training camp for one month in the US but we are yet to know the dates. If I peak early, say in 15 days, then my coach may tell me to go for a competition.”