New Delhi: In a setback to India’s aspirations in the Asian Games, wrestler Sushil Kumar, on Wednesday, decided to skip the Incheon meet next month.
“Sushil has informed us that he would not go to the Asian Games. His place in the team would be taken by Praveen Rana,” said the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary Raj Singh. Sushil had earlier pulled out of the World championships, too.
Sources said that the freestyle star has told the WFI executive committee that he would not like to go to the Asian Games and concentrate mainly on the preparations for the Rio Olympics two years later.
“Sushil requested the WFI to prepare a special plan for training till 2016 so that he can go for his third consecutive Olympic medal,” an official said.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sushil won a bronze medal in the 66 kg category and did even better four years later in London by winning the silver. In between, he clinched the World championship gold in the Moscow meet.
The Delhi based wrestler did not participate in any international meet for nearly two years after the London Olympics, except for one invitational meet in Italy. He was also forced to change his weight category to 74 kg because of the new rules.
At the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the champion grappler performed spectacularly to grab the gold medal.
Sushil’s decision to skip the Asian Games has not gone down well with a section of the WFI officials. “Sushil is being misguided by some people close to him. They feel he is not yet fully fit to face the top wrestlers in the Asian Games and might not win the gold medal. That’s why they are advising him to stay back,” said an official.
However, both Yogeshwar and Amit Kumar, who, along with Sushil Kumar had decided to skip the World championships, have made themselves available for the Asian Games. The WFI said the team for the World Championships would be announced later.
The trials for the Asian Games on Wednesday turned out to be a tense affair, especially after the Glasgow Games when some wrestlers approached the court of law for their non-selection. So much so, the WFI, fearing trouble, shifted the trials to Ludlow Castle in Delhi from Sonepat at the last moment.
The local police was also informed about the trials. Barring a couple of stray incidents, the trials, however, went off peacefully.
The team for the Asian Games: Amit Kumar (57kg); Bajrang (61kg); Yogeshwar (65); Praveen Kumar (70kg); Narsingh (74kg); Pawan Kumar (86kg) and Satyabrat Kadian (97kg).