Having failed to fully recover from a shoulder injury, ace Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar has been forced to opt out of the selection trials for next month’s Asian Championships and the continental Olympic qualifiers to be held in March.
The trials are scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Friday where the winners of each category will make the cut for the Indian contingent for the upcoming two tournaments and the year’s first ranking series in Rome from January 25-28.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the two-time Olympic medallist, on Wednesday, submitted a medical certificate to the national governing body, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Sushil further requested the body to postpone the trials for his category (74kg) in order to give him more time to recuperate.
“I have requested the federation to postpone the trials,” Sushil Kumar told Express. “I am recovering from an injury to my right shoulder and will not be fit for Friday’s trials. I have been preparing for it for a long time so I hope the federation will take it into consideration and reschedule the trials.”
Reportedly, the federation is likely to accept his request as WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said a final call will be taken on the issue on Thursday.
For Sushil, he would want Tokyo to be his final swansong and would love to have a go at the trials to get one step closer to the Olympics. But the question remains, given his recent form in the competitive circuit and the rise of 18-year-old Gaurav Baliyan, should the federation postpone the trials?
As far as Olympic quotas are concerned, so far, India has bagged four, all won at the 2018 World Championships. The country's grapplers do have an opportunity to win more quotas in the 74kg, 97kg and 125kg category but they will first have to go through the trials. Now, though, it remains to be seen, whether the trials are held on Friday or not.