Sushil Kumar and Narsingh at loggerheads over Olympic quota; WFI to take a call

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Sushil Kumar and Narsingh at loggerheads over Olympic quota; WFI to take a call

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Amlan Majumdar


Friends off the field, Narsingh Yadav and Sushil Kumar have issued contrasting statements on who should head to the Olympics in the 74-kg category. While Sushil feels a trial should decide who will represent India, Narsingh feels he should be traveling to Rio since he was the one who won the quota.

Narsingh Yadav became the first Indian wrestler to win an Olympic quota when he won a bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championship last year in the 74-kg category. However, with Sushil Kumar shifting from the 66-kg category to the 74-kg, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is in a fix on whom to send to the Rio Olympics.

According to rules, it is the governing body of the sports which decides the players to send in a particular category, and WFI's assistant secretary Vinod Tomar has said that they will take a final call on the matter after the men's and the women's teams return from the Olympic qualifying event in Baku.

"The men's and women's India teams from the Olympic qualifying event in Baku are set to return on Tuesday morning. The WFI will assess the situation once they come back and take a final call on Sushil-Narsingh trial after that," Tomar told News18.

Last month, Sushil Kumar had insisted that there will be a trial which will decide the final participant for the Olympics. “It is very simple as far Narsingh and I are concerned. Whoever wins the trial will go to Rio. We have trained together for many years now and we are friends. Every time there is a different situation (for qualifying). I qualified at the last moment in 2012 while I had secured my berth much earlier for the 2008 and 2004 Olympics.

“All I can say is that I am fully fit now. I will be part of the national camp starting day after in Sonepat. After that guruji (coach Satpal) has charted a two-month program in USA where I will train under a specialist men’s 74kg coach,” Sushil told PTI last month.

However, Narsingh Yadav feels differently about the situation. "I think there is no need for trials. When we go for a competition abroad, we are selected for the team through a trial.

“I have had good performances in the last two years in 74 kg. Sushil has won medals in all major competitions but at that time he used to compete in 66-kg category, while I have been participating in 74-kg category for a long time,” Narsingh said.

Sushil though, has pointed out the example of Jordan Burrough, who had to undergo a trial to get into the USA wrestling team, despite being the reigning world champion. “Of course, they[trials] should be held. I am not saying this because I am a party in this case, but because there has to be a proper system when it comes to such situations.

"Last week, Jordan Burroughs, the reigning world and Olympic champion, had to undergo trials to win a place in the US team. How else can anyone ascertain whether someone is in form when major championships are near?” Sushil told Hindustan Times.

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