The controversy surrounding Indian wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Yadav is getting bigger with no proper solution on horizon without swashing one’s Olympic dream.
The controversy started with Sushil Kumar asking for selection trials between him and Narsingh Yadav.
Narsingh Yadav questioned why he has to prove himself when he has already earned his spot for the Rio Olympics by winning Bronze in the World Championships.
Sushil pointed out he had missed the World event owing to a shoulder injury and only wanted a fair chance.
Sushil, who already has two Olympic-medals under his belt, said his glorious past should be set aside and only he be given a chance to prove himself. He added that if “there are two good contenders, there must be a fair trial and a procedure that should be followed.”
Though both are right with their demands, the situation has put the sports ministry in a soup.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has refused to be drawn into the controversy stating that he won’t “interfere” in the matter and it has to be resolved by the wresting federation itself.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in turn, seems to be in two minds.
Not wanting to be held solely responsible, WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has said they would conduct trials only if the sports ministry asks them to.
The current rules state that the one who wins the quota represents the country at Olympics.
Talking about the situation, Saran said it was hard for him and the federation as excluding either one of the wrestlers would be like “choosing which one of the hands should be chopped off “.
“On one hand, we have the future of India’s most decorated wrestler and on the other, we have our traditions and rules. While rules say the quota belongs to the country, our tradition and court’s order has been to send the wrestler who has won the quota. I don’t know what to do or what to say.”
Few things to note:
- Sushil Kumar, previously competed in the 66kg weight category and had to switch to the 74kg category after international wrestling federation decided to merge the weight categories in 2013.
- Sushil Kumar is the the only Indian Olympian to have won two medals at the biggest sporting extravaganza.
- The Olympic quota belongs to the country and not to a particular individual.
- In 2004, Delhi High Court had given a verdict stating that the wrestler who wins the quota should be sent for the Games after Kripashankar Patel challenged WFI’s decision to send Yogeshwar Dutt for the Athens Olympics.
- The selection trial for the Olympics is not limited to India alone and even current World and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs had to undergo trials to make it to the US Olympic team.
- Sushil’s achievements are all in the 66kg category and he hasn’t competed in any major international tournament in last four years.