There has been prolonged mistrust and significant disappointment as the country’s sports fraternity has come to terms with the monumental fall of Sushil Kumar from one of India’s biggest Olympians to a man arrested in a murder case.
The healthy man, who was previously wrapped in a tricolor after winning medals for the nation, had a face disguised in a towel, and both hands were held by Delhi police special cell staff on Sunday after running for many days.
Ironically, all this took place on World Wrestling Day.
He avoided an inaccessibility order for his alleged involvement in the death of 23-year-old wrestler Sagar Dankar during a brawl at Chhatrasal Stadium, considered the cradle of Indian wrestling, best known for Sushil, India’s only athlete with two individual Olympic medals.
Dankar was the son of a Delhi police officer and trained at the stadium before he died on May 5 from injuries sustained in the fight.
The chain of events left the Indian sports fraternity shocked, although respect for Sushil’s achievements remains intact. To date, the 37-year-old is the only world wrestling champion in India and a three-time gold medalist at the British Community Games.
“What he has done for Indian sport is something that can never be taken away from him. That’s all I want to say at this stage. Let things become clearer. I don’t want to comment further,” the boxer said. star Viender Singh, who has been to two Olympics with Sushil, told PTI.
Both Viender and Sushil won historic bronze medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. Viender remains the only man in India to win Olympic boxing medals.
Experienced table tennis player A Sharat Kamal, who is preparing for his fourth Olympic appearance, admitted that the image of the Indian sport will be hit. Kamal’s limited interactions with Sushil occurred during social events as Olympians.
“If this has really happened, it is unfortunate and has a bad effect on Indian sport, not just wrestling,” he said.
“He’s one of the best athletes we’ve had. People look at him. So if he did what he did, it would negatively affect not only the wrestlers, but also the athletes from other sports.”
Former hockey captain Ajital Singh, an observer with the Indian Olympic Association at the 2008 Olympics, recalled interacting with Sushil at the Games and said he still could not figure out what exactly went wrong with the “polite” man. .
“… it is very shameful and unfortunate. As an example to follow, Sushil had to set an example and never indulge in such a scandal. He has everything in life, sport gives him everything, money, fame,” he said.
“I met him during the Beijing Olympics, where I was an IOA observer, and found him to be a very down-to-earth and polite person. But after saying that everyone should know how to deal with fame,” he said.
Many other athletes approached by PTI to address the issue also described Sushil as a simple man and were confused by how things took such a turn. They preferred to maintain the anonymity of their observations.
“He has two small children, think about the impact on them,” said a top boxer who knew Sushil up close and still couldn’t make sense of the developments.
Sushil has two sons from his marriage to the coach’s daughter, Satpal Maharaj Savi. The couple tied the knot in 2011.
Not only his brothers in Olympic sports, Sushil was very enthusiastic in the cricket fraternity. A former cricketer who has interacted with him at social events would wait for more details before forming an opinion.
“He’s still just a defendant.”
“… but having said that, it’s often about the company you support once you reach a level. It’s disappointing, but if he’s innocent, he’ll certainly get justice,” he said.
A former hockey captain said falling a hero from Sushil’s height was never good for the sport as a whole.
“… if the allegations are true, it would be the darkest episode in Indian sport. He was a role model for many young athletes,” he said.
A prominent member of the Rifle Brotherhood was still working on what had happened so far.
“Something like this is unheard of when it comes to an Olympian. It’s unbelievable, quite shocking if it actually happened. I don’t know what to say,” he said.
However, a famous badminton player believed that Indian sports would fail as new heroes were formed in the future.
“… this may affect the fight at the moment, because it is the biggest name in the sport, but in the long run it will not matter … the sport will continue. We have seen fixing in place and cricket matches happen, but the sport is only getting bigger, “said the shuttle.