Underprepared Sushil Kumar pulls out of trials for Asian Olympic wrestling qualifiers

Sushil Kumar's last chance to make the Tokyo cut will be the world Olympic qualifiers in May.

By Rahul Venkat

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar will not be a part of the national selection trials to be held on Tuesday at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.

The Indian wrestling squad – freestyle and Greco-Roman - for the Asian Olympic qualifiers and the Asian Wrestling Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in April will be picked based on performance in the selection trials.

It was thought to be the comeback event for Sushil Kumar following the COVID-19 pandemic as he aims for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics after missing out on Rio 2016, but it was not to be.

“I was busy with the election of the School Games Federation, so I had not been training much recently. I like to enter any event with the best possible preparation, so I have decided to give the trials a miss,” Sushil Kumar said in a video interview with the Delhi Let’s Play publication.

“I have begun training again though and will be looking to take part in other tournaments soon.”

Sushil Kumar was re-elected as president of the School Games Federation of India – which aims to popularise Olympic and other sports among schoolchildren - last week.

A bronze-medallist at Beijing 2008 and a silver-medallist at London 2012, Sushil Kumar was vying for a slot in the 74kg category alongside national champion Sandeep Singh Mann and Narsingh Yadav.

With Sushil Kumar unlikely to make the squad for the Asian Olympic qualifiers, his final opportunity to qualify for the Summer Games will come at the world Olympic qualifiers in Sofia, Bulgaria in May.