Sports Minister Vijay Goel has rejected the allegations of conflict of interest against Sushil Kumar, who is the national observer for wrestling in India. The minister said Sushil was appointed by the Sports Ministry for the development of sports and is performing his duties as per the guidelines and role assigned by the Ministry. In a letter to the Sports Ministry, General Secretary of Maharashtra Wrestling Association Balasaheb Langade had questioned Sushil’s appointment saying he was an active sportsperson.
“He (Sushil) has not accepted the decision of the Wrestling Federation of India and even unsuccessfully challenged the same in Delhi High Court. He also holds deep grudge against several current coaches as well as WFI,” the letter read. Questioning Sushil’s role as an observer, Langade wrote in the letter, “Being the caretaker of Chhatarsal stadium, Sushil’s presence at trials is bound to influence and bring mental pressure on coaches who would go against his wishes.”
But Goel said an observer’s role is to observe selection of national teams and to suggest measures for further strengthening the selection process and observe, analyse, review and report on the performance of Indian and foreign coaches and the progress and performances of the campers. The two-time Olympic medallist attended the trials on July 20 to select the India team for the Asian Cadet Championships, which will be held in Bangkok from July 20. He is expected to be present at the trials to select the team for the Senior World Championships next month.
“The government made me an observer and I attended the cadet trials. I will be there at the trials for senior world championships as well. That’s my job,” Sushil said. However, Langade said that Sushil should not be there as there will be wrestlers from Chhatarsal stadium who will take part in the trials. “What did he (Sushil) and his coach did at the time of Rio Olympics to world bronze medallist Narsingh Yadav? They went to court and conspired to stop him from going to Rio. They are so selfish that they cannot be impartial. I am not against anyone at personal level.
He has made India proud but is narrow-minded. How will they think of growing wrestling in India as they only think of their akhada. What does observer mean? If he gives a report, he cannot be imparial. It is wrong and he should not be the observer. They conspired with the sports director against Narsingh at the SAI centre which is wrong for the sport. In 1972, I was the chief coach and Satpal used to train under me. They have always been highlighting their akhada,” he said.
Langade urged the sports ministry to look for “more suitable” candidates to replace Sushil. “Sushil is not much respected in wrestling circles and he does not have the knowledge to study wrestling. What can he do for Indian wrestling. Observer needs maturity and broad view,” he said.