Brawl overshadows CWG wrestling trials

Sushil (74kg), Rahul Aware (57kg), Bajrang (65kg), Somveer (86kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Sumit (125kg) qualified for the Commonwealth Games today.

A brawl broke out between the supporters of Sushil and his bitter rival Parveen Rana.   -  S.Subramanium

In an ugly turn of events, double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar’s ‘supporters’ clashed with those of Parveen Rana at the Commonwealth Games selection trials inside the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in Delhi on Friday.

According to sources, the problem arose when Rana’s supporters hooted during his semifinal bout against Sushil. Members from the Rana camp alleged that Sushil’s supporters beat up Rana’s brother and others as he dared to fight against the Olympic medallist.

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Sushil, who made a return to competitive wrestling this year after his 2014 Commonwealth Games winning performance, defeated Dinesh Kumar (10-0), Parveen Rana (7-3) and Jitender Kumar (4-3) to win the trials to be eligible to compete in the 74kg freestyle category in the Gold Coast Games.

The selection trials were overshadowed by the ruckus, videos of which went viral on various news portals and social media sites.

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On the unpleasant episode, Sushil tweeted, “It’s very unfortunate and highly condemnable what has happened today at the stadium. I do not support anyone who gets violence in between sportsmanship. My aim is to fight & win for my Nation like a true sportsman & not to win against any group or individual.”

The incident exposed the hypocrisy and power struggle within the wrestling fraternity.

It was ironical that Rana was among three wrestlers who forfeited their fights against Sushil out of ‘respect’ in the National wrestling championship in Indore last month.

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The rapport seemed to have changed when Sushil and Rana had a tough bout, which the former won 5-4, in the Commonwealth wrestling championship earlier this month.

The brawl at the selection trials also showed the Wrestling Federation of India’s lack of control over the wrestlers.

The selected wrestlers:

Freestyle (for Commonwealth Games and Asian championship): Rahul Aware (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Sushil Kumar (74kg), Somveer (86kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Sumit (125kg).

Greco Roman (for Asian championship): Rajender (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Vikram Kurade (63kg), Manish (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Harpreet Singh (82kg), Sunil (87kg), Hardeep (97kg) and Naveen (130kg).