With Rio in mind, Sushil Kumar to resume training

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has decided to resume training in the run up to what could be his fourth successive Olympics in Rio and will soon travel to either Georgia or Colorado Springs in the US for a four-month long stint from January end.


Sushil was out of action due to his shoulder injury for most of 2015, and will be itching to get into top shape before the selection trials against Narsingh Yadav in May or June for India’s participation in the 74kg freestyle category at the Rio Games.

And with the start of the new year, the 32-year-old has also hired a world-renowned personal trainer. Though Sushil did not want to reveal his name, the trainer is likely to be Mark Manning, a former American national team coach who fine-tuned the skills of reigning Olympic and world champion in 74kg, Jordan Burroughs.

“My target is to bring gold from Rio,” Sushil said. “For that, I would be either travelling to Georgia or Colorado Springs for a long training programme. Though Colorado Springs would be my first preference, I am not averse to travelling to Georgia. The final decision will be taken by guruji (coach Satpal Singh). Whatever he will suggest, I’ll follow that,” Sushil said.

Satpal said the venue will be finalised after considering various factors, ranging from food and accommodation to quality of training partners. Sushil and Satpal are making queries about a particular training partner who has sparred with Jordan in the same weight division during the American team’s national camps.

“Sushil was in Georgia for 21 days (in November-December) and he trained with their national team’s wrestlers,” Satpal said. “He undertook the trip to get match fit for the Pro Wrestling League. However, that did not happen as Sushil realised he needed more time to recover from the shoulder and hand injury.

“Now that he has recovered fully, we are looking for some tough training sessions against quality opponents to leave nothing to chance at the Rio Games,” Satpal added.

For the record, Narsingh has already secured an Olympic berth after winning bronze at the World Championships in Las Vegas last September. But as per the United World Wrestling, the quota belongs to a country and not an individual. Thus, Narsingh will have to fight it out with Sushil to seal the quota from India.

Although Narsingh holds the first right to board the flight to Rio, Sushil is equally optimistic about featuring in what would be his final Olympics and striking gold.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is tight-lipped about the selection trial. But it is learnt that the contest between the two grapplers will either be in May or June.