Less than 24 hours after the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) ended, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has broken his silence over his last-minute pull-out from the inaugural edition.
Kumar was upset over with the way PWL’s commercial right holder ‘Pro Sportify’ and his franchise went about speculating his non-participation in the league. The way PWL governing council member Rashmi Suleja commented over his absence, alleging that his ‘priorities’ have changed and that he has become ‘busy’ with other professional commitments has hurt the champion wrestler.
“Have the franchise owners or league organisers ever fought or witnessed a wrestling match? Were they so smart that they came to know about me, my hobbies in one week after meeting me? Whoever was saying certain things about me, they don’t me. You (media) know me for so long, have been around me. I have been blessed with everything in life after the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” Sushil told dna on Monday.
“These organisers and franchise owners are new to wrestling. I think they don’t know about my image and stature. Whatever they said over the past couple of days was their thinking, not mine,” he added.
He also expressed displeasure over an insulting tweet by Bangalore team owner Parth Jindal that said “Sushil is scared of fighting Narsingh Yadav”.
When asked why he chose to remain silent all these days, the 2012 London Olympics silver medallist said: “After talking to guruji (coach and father-in-law Satpal Singh) and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Singhji, I went for a 21-day training programme to Georgia in order to get match fit for the league.
“On return, I realised that I was not 100 per cent fit. I still need time to recover from shoulder and hand injuries. I am the one who believes in only taking the mat when fully fit, not half-heartedly. The WFI president himself told me that I should first attain full fitness before competing in the PWL. He said he wanted me fit for Rio. I had informed my federation in due course,” the 32-year-old informed.
“I can’t stop people from commenting about me. The franchise owners had their own view of looking at things in certain manner. I have fought against Narsingh Yadav many times. I had even defeated him two years back. If a wrestler is fearful of facing an opponent, then he shouldn’t think about competing in Olympics. I would have gone to the World Championships in Las Vegas but I opted out because I did not want Narsingh to suffer. I did not want to block his place,” he said.
“We both have mutual respect for each other. But, if the situation demands where I have to compete against him for deciding the Rio representation, I will give my 100 per cent and try to succeed,” he added.
Does this mean he wouldn’t be around the next edition of the PWL?
“I am not saying this. It’s a good concept and it’s helping in promoting the game. I would definitely play next year if the league takes place.”