His eyes firmly trained on the 2016 Rio Games, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, in all probability, will skip the upcoming World Championship as well as the Asian Games slated to be held next month, as he now wants to win a gold in the biggest sporting event.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Wednesday announced the squad for the Asian Games, which did not feature Sushil’s name, and said it will finalise the team for the FILA World Wrestling Championship to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from September 8 to 14 in a couple of days.
“Sushil has informed us about his unwillingness to compete in either of the two upcoming tournaments as he wants to only focus on the 2016 Olympics,” a top WFI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
For the Asiad, to be held in Incheon, South Korea from September 19, Narsingh Pancham Yadav has replaced Sushil in the 74kg freestyle event, while Praveen Rana (70kg) is the only addition to the team that represented India at the recently-concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The 33-year-old Sushil had won a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, before doing one better four years later at the London Games, winning a silver medal and earning an iconic status.
Unlike in the Commonwealth Games, there will be greco-roman category in the Asian Games.
The women’s team trials for the two big tournaments will be held in Lucknow on Thursday.
In Sushil’s absence, London Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, who had also won a gold in Glasgow, will lead the seven-member freestyle team, which also includes Amit Kumar (57kg), Bajrang (61kg) among others.
The greco-roman team also comprises seven grapplers.
Asian Games squad:
Freestyle: Amit Kumar (57kg), Bajrang (61kg), Yogeshwar Dutt (65kg), Praveen Rana (70kg), Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg), Pawan Kumar (86kg) and Satywart Kadian (97kg).
Greco Roman: Ravinder Singh (59kg), Sandeep Yadav (66kg), K K Yadav (71 kg), Gurpreet Singh (75kg), Harpreet Singh (80kg), Manoj Kumar (85kg) and Hardeep (98kg).