New Delhi: Sushil Kumar is one name in wrestling that is equal of what Sachin Tendulkar is in cricket. He is the one who brought a paradigm shift for wrestling in the country and scaled it to new heights. From being the son of a bus conductor to becoming the first Indian athlete to win back-to-back medals at the Olympic Games, Sushil Kumar has indeed come a long way.
Despite his glorious achievements, Sushil Kumar, India’s most successful grappler, has also been one of the country’s most controversial athletes in recent times. From the issue of skipping the Asian Games to a brawl against Praveen Rana, Sushil Kumar’s has marred with number of controversies.
Latest to join the bandwagon is the murder of a young wrestler in Delhi. At the peak of his dexterity, he single-handedly lifted wrestling in India to extraordinary heights but as police looks for him in relation to a murder case, the sport’s image has taken as much a beating as that of the Delhi-based grappler.
The incident has come at a time when wrestling is celebrating its highest number of quotas (eight) for the upcoming Olympics.
WHAT IS THE EXACT CASE
The Delhi police is ascertaining the role of the37-year-old wrestler Sushil Kumar in a brawl which took place on May 4 leading to the death of 23-year-old Sagar Dhankad outside the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi.
A lookout notice was issued by Delhi police against the wrestler. Police stated they have recorded a statement of other victims in the incident.
The brawl reportedly took place over vacating a flat in Delhi's Modal Town area, according to a report in PTI. The Olympic wrestler has been named in the FIR and is on the run. Police officials said they conducted raids at multiple places in Delhi-NCR to nab Sushil. Quoting the victims, the report suggested that Sushil Kumar was present at the spot when the brawl took place. During the clash, a 23-year-old wrestler died and two of his friends were allegedly assaulted at the stadium.
Police said the clash broke out between Sushil Kumar, Prince Dalal, Sonu, Sagar, Amit and others. A case was registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act at the Model Town Police Station. According to police, the 24-year-old wrestler Prince Dalal, who is a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, has been arrested. The police further stated that the absconding wrestler is said to be constantly changing his locations to evade arrest after a lookout notice was issued against him. Sushil, employed with the Indian Railways, is posted as an Officer on Special Duty at Chhattrasal Stadium, where the brawl took place.
Sushil Kumar on Tuesday moved to an anticipatory bail plea while the hearing is set to take place in Rohini Court.
REWARD FOR INFO ON WRESTLER
The Delhi Police on Monday declared a cash award of Rs1 lakh for anyone who gives information on a double Olympic medallist wrestler, who has been on the run since May 4, after his name was associated to the murder of a former wrestler.
The police have also declared a cash award of Rs 50,000 for anyone who provides information on Sushil's associate Ajay Kumar. Recently, Delhi court also issued a non bailable warrant against him, besides issuing a look out notice against the wrestler. "A lookout notice has been issued for Kumar,” Dr Guriqbal Singh Sidhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North West Delhi) had said.
Sushil who hails from Delhi, till date is India's only world champion (2010) in the wrestling. He is also the only one to bag two individual Olympic medals.
Sushil's bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 ended India's 56-year-long wait for an Olympic medal in the sport. The achievement had a marvellous impact as Indian wrestling registered the new faces such as Yogeshwar Dutt, Phogat Sisters, Rio bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and World medallists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, and Deepak Punia. He was the flag bearer for India at the opening ceremony at the 2012 London Olympics. Kumar also defeated Qamar Abbas from Pakistan in the 74 kg final to win the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia, he achieved a feat of winning 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Commonwealth Games.
From the Akharas in India to the podiums of the Olympics, not once but twice, in London and in Beijing, the wrestling champion showed India that vicinities of the rural India still breed champions. But now this wrestler is absconding in a murder case. Difficult to digest for any wrestling fan? Indeed, true.