Commonwealth Games 2018: Bold is gold for Sushil Kumar

Veteran Sushil says he’s always motivated because medals matter more than where they come from.

Published: 13th April 2018 01:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 10:17 AM   |  A+A-

India's Sushil Kumar wrestles with South African wrestler Johannes Botha in the men's freestyle 74kg wrestling final bout at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast on Thursday. | PTI

Express News Service

GOLD COAST: Sometimes, success turns into an addiction. No matter how much you achieve, you crave for more. Multiple Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar can be considered one. Since 2010, he has never missed a Commonwealth Games gold. Just when people start writing him off as an ageing legend, he surprises them by making a comeback.

He did that at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and now here at the Carrara Sports Precinct. There’s something about Sushil and controversies. They keep dogging him with disdain. The day the start list of the Commonwealth Games was released, his name was not there. His selection was questioned yet again.

He missed out on a Rio Olympic berth due to a needless controversy when Narsingh Yadav was chosen ahead of him because the latter won during selection trials.

In 2018, Sushil did not take a chance. He took part in the nationals, where he created another controversy when everyone gave him a walkover touching his feet.

He got himself selected through trials, where Praveen Rana was beaten but the bout got more publicity because of a brawl between Praveen’s brother and Sushil’s fans. Tiding over controversies is not easy. But like challenges in life, Sushil takes them in his stride.

“I remember very little of the past. I always try to leave them behind because those days are not going to come again. Today I have won a medal. That is not going to happen tomorrow. I think every player has to keep doing this.”

The 34-year-old’s confidence in his ability is outrageous. Every now and then, he wakes up and decides to fight. He keeps himself motivated and fit.

Even for events like the Commonwealth Games where the field is not very tough. “Every medal is close to my heart,” he said. “I believe it doesn’t matter whether the tournament is big or small.

The medal will be something you remember for the rest of your life.” Eighty seconds.

That is all Sushil needed to win the gold. He did not break a sweat, literally, against South Africa’s Johannes Botha on Thursday.

Hundreds of Indian fans kept waiting outside the Carrara Sports Precinct indoor hall to catch a glimpse of the star. He obliged as many as he could. Despite all his accomplishments, Sushil is down to earth. There’s humility in his voice.

There were doubts and aspersions cast on his fitness. Cynics even questioned his motivation. But Sushil was very candid.

“You have seen me over the years. Whenever I am fit, I try to fight. And if I am not fit, I don’t fight.” Sushil dedicated the victory to the victims of a recent tragedy where schoolchildren were killed in a bus accident. Sushil turns philosophical while explaining the reason for his long absence from the wrestling scene. “I was injured, hence the long gap between these Games and the last,” he said.

“In life, problems start from the moment you get out of home. Sometimes you won’t get a bus. If you get a bus, you could get stuck in a jam. These things will keep happening. You just have to keep trying.” As for his next target, Sushil is yet to set one. At this point in life, he likes to take things as they come, with his chin up.

Indraneel@newindianexpress.com

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