In yet another setback for Sushil Kumar, the double Olympic-medallist has been omitted from the Wrestling Federation of India’s Rio Preparatory camp, which is scheduled to begin in Sonepat from Wednesday, as only the quota place earning wrestlers have been included in the list.
As per rules, Narsingh Pancham Yadav has been included in the men’s 74kg freestyle division for the camp as he had acquired the berth at the World Championship last year, while Sushil’s name does not figure.
“The Rio preparatory camp is starting on Wednesday and all those wrestlers who have earned Olympic quota places are being included in the camp,” a WFI official told PTI.
“But if Sushil wants to be a part of the camp, he is most welcome,” he added.
The camp was earlier supposed to begin from on Monday but has now been postponed to Wednesday.
Although in every weight category there would be more than one wrestler at the camp, including 74kg, to give the Rio-bound athletes a good practice, WFI said all the qualified grapplers chose their sparring partners and the Federation had no say in that.
Explaining Sushil’s exclusion, the official said: “It is important to allow the wrestlers to opt for their own sparring partners because that would protect them from any unwarranted injury or harm during the camp. There might be problems if there is some personal animosity between the two grapplers. That’s why WFI did not choose any partner.”
Meanwhile, WFI denied getting any instruction from the government regarding the conduct of trials in 74kg between Sushil and Narsingh.
“So far, no directions have come from the government. There may be something in the coming days. But as of now, there is nothing.”
With WFI not showing much interest in conducting a trial in 74kg, fearing demands from other wrestlers in remaining seven weight categories India has earned for Rio, Sushil has already taken the matter to the doorsteps of Prime Minister’s Office.
The 32-year-old has also appealed to the Sports Ministry, IOA, WFI and fans to give him a chance to undergo a trial for the Rio Games, as according to the rules, quota belongs to the country and not to a particular wrestler.
Sushil has also argued that the government has spent a substantial amount of money on his training and even the federation has been asking him to keep practising.
“If it was already decided that the athlete winning the quota place would be the one going to Rio Games, then WFI should have told me and also my name should have been omitted from the TOP scheme.
“Then I would not have worked so hard in the last one year and also the government should not have wasted so much money and time on my training in India as well as abroad,” Sushil said.
With Sushil’s letter lying with the PMO, WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan has said that the federation would wait for the government to give directions on the matter.
Narsingh has been staking his claim to represent India at the Olympics since last year when he had secured a quota place at the World Championship in Las Vegas after winning a bronze in 74kg. While Sushil, who missed the event due to a shoulder injury, has been demanding a trial.