On the way to recovery from an injury, double Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar is getting ready to train in the USA before returning for the Pro Wrestling League, which he feels would give the country’s grapplers a “good exposure” ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics.
The Indian team will be going to Las Vegas in September for the World Championships, which will also be the first qualifying tournament for the Rio Games.
Although Sushil had opted out of the all-important championship after suffering a shoulder injury last month, he revealed that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has decided to send him also to USA for training.
“The federation is planning to send me to the USA for training. I fact, the entire team would be going there ahead of the World Championships. I would also accompany them and would be training there along with others. Then whichever tournament comes my the way, I would probably take part in those as well,” Sushil told PTI.
The 32-year-old said his injury has almost healed and he has been training for the past two weeks. After more than a year-long long sabbatical, Sushil would finally be seen in action at the Pro Wrestling League (PWL), slated to be held in India between November 8 and 29.
Sushil agreed that the professional league would be high on glamour and financial quotient, but added he would look to utilise it only as a platform to prepare for the Rio Olympics.
“The fact that some of the top wrestlers of the world are expected to be part of the PWL, it will provide a good exposure ahead of the Rio Games. Competing against some of the best in the world would only be beneficial,” insisted Sushil.
The 66kg freestyle wrestler also said that it would be an excellent platform for the junior and upcoming grapplers to rub shoulders with the cream of the wrestling world.
“We always look for more and more exposure and go to foreign countries for that. We will be getting it here sitting in our own country, what can be better than that?,” he asked.
The league will have six city-based teams and the players would be auctioned for the franchises on September 15. Asked how he feels about being sold to a particular team for a particular sum of money, Sushil replied: “Ajeeb lag raha hai (I feel strange).”
“But then you have to move with time. This is how it is happening these days and one should take it in his strike. However, I would like to clarify that my main focus is still the Olympics. I am looking at this league to improve myself as a wrestler and assess where I stand among the world’s best,” he explained.
Sushil added that he would not want his juniors to say that pro wrestling could not come to India because the likes of Sushil did not want to participate.
“The junior wrestlers are going to gain a lot from this and I don’t want to play spoilsport.” On whether he has any preferred city for which he would like to play for, as and when the franchises are decided, Sushil said: “I have always played for the country. So it doesn’t matter which city I go to.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines