Sushil Kumar’s loss at Asian Games 2018 may result in him losing the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme funding from the government.
Indian wrestling star Sushil Kumar was knocked out from the qualification round on Day 1 at the Asian Games 2018. Bahrain’s 31 year old wrestler Adam Batirov pulled out an upset as he defeated Kumar in the 74 kg freestyle category.
A member of the wrestler’s coaching staff conceded that it has come as a shock.
“Had he lost to tougher opponents like Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov or Kyrgyzstan’s Muslim Evloev, it would have been a different.
“But after losing to someone like Batirov, who’s also ageing at 31 and wasn’t in his best of form, eyebrows are bound to be raised,” said the staff member.
According to the Times of India, Sushil Kumar will no more be allowed to have automatic qualification into major international events without national trials. TOI’s sources also claim that the Indian wrestler will not participate in the World Championships in October this year, as he wants to stress on reforming his training programme.
Sushil Kumar has struggled while going into Asian Games 2018. The wrestler skipped the Asian Championships this year, and lost to Andrzej Piotr Sokalski of Poland in the pre-quarterfinals at Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia earlier this month. Interestingly, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) exempted Sushil Kumar from trials for the tournament in Georgia.
The Indian wrestler did win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this year, but failed to replicate the success at the Asiad.
While the wrestler insisted that he targets a podium finish in the Olympics 2020, Sushil Kumar’s road ahead looks uncertain.