Sushil Kumar to participate in wrestling World Championship

Sushil Kumar won the spot in the World Championship after defeating Jitender Kumar in the trials held by the Wrestling Federation of India.

Sushil will participate in the World Championship after eight years. (FILE IMAGE)   -  PTI

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who had a bitter tussle with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) over the 74kg quota place prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, on Tuesday recorded comprehensive wins in the National selection trials to claim the men’s freestyle 74kg berth in the Indian side for the upcoming World wrestling championships – the first major Olympic qualifying event – in Kazakhstan.

Thirty-six-year-old Sushil’s selection clears his road to go for a quota place in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

In the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Narsingh Yadav had secured a Worlds bronze medal and an Olympic berth in 74kg. However, controversy started when Sushil, who had skipped the Worlds, demanded a trial between him and Narsingh to ascertain who would represent the country in 74kg in Rio.

The WFI stood firmly with Narsingh but had to declare a replacement in Parveen Rana when the former tested positive for a banned substance. A clearance by a National Anti-Doping Agency hearing panel gave Narsingh the go-ahead before the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the decision and handed him a four-year suspension. As a result, India went unrepresented in 74kg in the last Olympics.

All eyes were on the 74kg category, which was the lone Olympic weight class among men’s freestyle categories, in the selection trials held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Sushil convincingly defeated Vinod, who had overcome Gaurav Baliyan, 3-0 to set up a fight with Jitender.

The former World champion then got the better of Jitender, who had beaten Amit Dhankar, 4-2 in the final bout, which was punctuated by several stoppages due to Sushil ‘unintentionally’ poking into his rival’s eye and taking two medical breaks (owing to a bleeding nose and a sore knee).

Sushil later told reporters that his plan was to win the bouts without exerting himself too much.

Rahul Aware (61kg), Karan Mor (70kg) and Praveen (92kg) were the wrestlers who made it to the Worlds squad in non-Olympic weights. Jitender will again try his luck in 79kg, in which he needs to defeat Veer Dev Gulia  to make it to the Worlds squad.