New Delhi : In his first major international outing since winning bronze at the Beijing Olympics last August, Sushil Kumar has now won a gold at the German Grand-Prix.
India ended the championship on a high with five wrestlers winning medals Sunday to kick-off preparation for the World Championship in Finland in September.
Rahul Balasaheb won gold in the 55kg, while Rajiv Tomar bagged silver in the 120 kg category. Ramesh Kumar (74kg) and Ravinder Singh (60 kg, Greco-Roman) won bronze medals.
Sushil’s performance is creditable as it came when he is under huge pressure after his fall-out with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) last month.
Sushil was served a show-cause notice by the WFI after he was disqualified from the Asian Championships at Pattaya, Thailand, for being 400 gm overweight in the 66kg category.
Sushil, who has been unhappy with the WFI over his training and competition schedule after the Olympics, was let off with a warning in February for pulling out of a tournament in the US at the last-minute.
The WFI even censured him, saying he had not been living up to his reputation as an iconic sportsperson.
Sushil’s coach Yashvir, who was also served a show-cause notice for the Pattaya incident, said: “This was his first major international assignment. After the Pattaya incident, Sushil was determined to prove himself and there is no better way than come back with gold.”
“As coaches we also came under the scanner and there was needless washing of dirty linen in public from both sides. Sushil has now not only vindicated himself but also proved us right with this performance.”
“Many people thought that he was losing his way after winning the Olympic bronze medal, but he has always been sincere and focussed. The field in Germany was tough as there were wrestlers from Uzbekistan, Thailand and other top wrestling nations. It is a nice way to start his preparation for the World Championship.”
Asked whether he felt that the row with the WFI was unnecessary, Yashvir said: “ No sportsperson wants such things to happen. Whatever has happened is now past and we should not rake it up any more. All I can say is that Sushil has it in him to win more medals.”