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Terming the ugly episode between him and Narsingh Yadav in the build up to the Rio Olympics as ‘unfortunate’, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has said the four-year ban imposed on his counterpart by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) should either be reduced or abolished completely.
Sushil said he still regrets missing the Olympics, insisting that it will be hard for him to forget whatever transpired in the last two months. “I will always regret missing these Olympics. It is still there in my mind and will never go. If it goes, it will take time,” he said on the sidelines of Hukum Singh Dangal, held in Bawana on Wednesday.
“But as a wrestler I know what a ban means. Your career is over. If they can and there are rules by which Narsingh can get out of this, they should do it.”
Narsingh was picked ahead of Sushil in the 74kg freestyle category for the Rio Games. It subsequently led to a three-month long selection saga that was first fought in the Delhi High Court, followed by allegations of sabotage after Narsingh failed a dope test. Narsingh hinted at the involvement of Sushil in the conspiracy against him.
After he was initially exonerated by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), the 27-year-old was slapped with a four-year ban by the world body a day before his event in Rio. India eventually lost the spot as they were not allowed to name a replacement.
Sushil said India could have fielded second wrestler if the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had requested the international governing body, United World Wrestling. “India should have requested the United World Wrestling to allow two wrestlers to go for weigh-ins since Narsingh’s case was pending. By this they could have avoided a losing the spot in this weight category,” he said.
Sushil, who last competed at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, missed the Olympic Games in August this year after Narsingh Yadav was sent in the 74kg. But he also could not participate after he was tested positive for banned substance. Though National Anti-Doping Agency cleared him, World Anti-Doping Agency appealed against the decision and Narsingh was handed a four year ban.
The London Games silver medallis said his family’s support kept him motivated during the ‘difficult phase’ and he is now ready to return to competitive wrestling. Sushil said he is eyeing a comeback during next month’s National Championships. “I have no choice but to compete at the national competition. That is my way back to the national team. I am physically fit and will be wrestling at the senior nationals later this year,” he said.
The nationals are likely to be held from October 22 to 25 in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, and the WFI has made it mandatory for all wrestlers to compete if they aspire to be a part of the national team.
There were rumours of Sushil’s retirement after he was not considered for the Rio Games, but the wrestler said he is keen to continue till the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games at least. “I will continue wrestling. I have planned everything. I have the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games on my mind. I train everyday, that’s never going to stop. I will reveal my future plan in some days,” he said.