Aggrieved Sushil seeks PM's help

Wrestling : WFI not keen on Rio berth for wrestler

Aggrieved Sushil seeks PM's help

 With the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) not keen on picking Sushil Kumar for the Rio Olympic Games, the double Olympic medallist wrestler has dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought a meeting with him.

Sushil wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, requesting a meeting at the earliest.

On a day of hectic developments, Sushil has taken WFI head on after president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh categorically said there was no history of holding trials for selection in the Olympics and backed Narsingh Pancham Yadav, who had won the quota place for the country in 74kg, to represent India in Rio.

Sushil has also written to the Sports Ministry, requesting for a trial in the men’s 74 kg. The copy of his letter to Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also been marked to the WFI. However, Sonowal on Thursday had washed his hands off the matter stating the ministry could not intervene in the internal matter of federations.

"We were left with no choice but to seek intervention of honourable Prime Minister. Sushil has written to him requesting a meeting," Sushil’s mentor Satpal Singh told Deccan Herald.

"He is being made a victim of federation politics. Or else, how do you justify the most successful Indian Olympian being made to run from pillar to post. He is not getting any joy out of doing all this. All he is asking for is to hold trials. If the federation doesn't want him why was he sent abroad to train?”

The WFI president presented a different picture. “We have the parampara (tradition) of sending the wrestler who has qualified for the Olympics. In this case it is Narsingh. If you check the records from 2004, this is what has been followed. We have received a copy of the letter which Sushil Kumar has written to the Sports Minister. It mentions his achievements and requests for a trial. We are now awaiting the directions from Sports ministry. But as of now, that’s how things stand and WFI stand united in it,” Brij Bhushan told Deccan Herald.

“We had never made any promise of trial to Sushil. We only received a formal request for trial from him yesterday. We sent him to train abroad on his request as he was the part of TOPS scheme which also has many other wrestlers. But nowhere did he mention he wanted to go abroad to prepare for the trials. He has always been the part of camp. Can you refuse someone of the stature of Sushil Kumar when he asks to be the part of the camp?”

However, despite his claims of unity, opinions are divided within the federation. There is sufficient support for Sushil. WFI officials supporting Sushil are hoping the selection committee meeting will take place by Tuesday despite Brij Bhushan’s reluctance.

“There are many within the federation who believe that Sushil deserves a trial. So we are hoping there will be a selection committee meeting but everyone knows that it is the WFI president who would be calling the shots. It is shocking how he has changed his stance. Earlier whenever Sushil would meet the president, he would assure him the trials would take place,” a source said.

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