Indian sports never stays out of controversy. While Cricket and cricketers have overshadowed most in the controversies it’s the turn of Wrestling this time round. With Rio 2016 Olympics to kick off on August 5 India has not been able to decide upon who will represent India in the 74kg wrestling category. The battle lines are drawn between Sushil Kumar who has been India’s most successful individual Olympian winning a bronze and a silver in the past 2 Olympics against Narsingh Yadav the man who won India the slot in the 74 kg category by winning bronze medal in World Championship at Las Vegas in 2015.
Though the final decision as to who will represent India lies with the Wrestling Federation of India because as per the rules the slot belongs to the nation and not individuals who win them.
Normally India has followed a tradition of sending the respective sports person to the Olympics who won the slot in the first case and thus the Wrestling Federation of India’s(WFI) scale are tilted in favor of Narsingh Yadav, though they haven’t confirmed on it as yet.
Sushil Kumar on his part has used the emotive as well as legal appeal to strengthen his case. Given his fame he has managed to tilt the social media in his favor and his appeal has become a trending topic as people are asking #justiceforSushil. His contention is that there should be a trial to decide upon who is the better wrestler and not solely based on the tradition.
The Delhi High Court has decided not to budge into this matter and has passed on the decision to WFI who have further passed it on to the Sports Ministry suggesting that if the Ministry calls for a trail they have no problems, but sensing it could be a controversial issue they have left it for the WFI to take the final call.
Yadav v/s Kumar
The 26 years old Yadav has the age advantage as well as the weight advantage. He belongs to the 74 kg freestyle bout and has in fact won the slot competing in the same category at Vegas and has regularly been in the mix for the past 2 years. Also in recently concluded Pro Wrestling league he was one of the top draws.
Sushil Kumar on the other hand is 32 years old, and has been nursing a shoulder injury and has not participated in any competition since 2014 and has missed on national camp as well. He missed out on the Pro league wrestling as well where Yadav’s performance was exceptional. Another case against Kumar has been that his previous 2 Olympics medal have been both in 66 kg category so in the 74 kg category he is largely untested.
The final candidate is not yet decided but a trail before the Olympics may lead to hampering the fitness of both the wrestlers no matter who comes out victorious.
The only loser in all this will be India’s medal hopes. It is also not an easy decision for anyone to make for Sushil Kumar brings in a lot of experience and is a proven success, while Narsingh Yadav has emerged as a strong contender but is largely unproven, who will walk away with the slot is there to be seen but one may only hope that the controversy ends as early as possible with minimal damage to boost India’s medal hopes.