Double Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar finally opened up on his Gold medal victory at the National Wrestling Championship after three consecutive walkovers. A day after his victory, Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar suggested that Sushil should return the medal as a mark of sportsmanship. However, the wrestler has stated that the situation was beyond his control and he would have done the same if he had faced a senior.
In an interview with leading Indian daily, Times of India, Sushil spoke about the three walkovers he got in the tournament. He said,
“I don’t thik it’s controversial. I participated to compete and walked in to the ring to fight. I was ready for the match. But if the opponent didn’t step up, what could I do? Those who gave me the walkover were my juniors and have been practicing with me. They have respect for me.”
In his last three bouts, all his opponents touched his feet to pay him respect while the referee said, “it’s our tradition.” On being asked about it, Sushil said,
Sportpersons respect their seniors but when two wrestlers fight, they are all equal. However, it was a different situation that a wrestler didn’t fight against the opposition.”
Earlier on November 18, Farhan Akhtar took to his official Twitter account and opined that Sushil Kumar shouldn’t accept the title. He wrote:
I hold @WrestlerSushil in high regard for all he has achieved through hard work, discipline, blood and sweat. Sincerely hope he does not accept the gold in this manner. It’s not sportsmanlike. pic.twitter.com/Nv7WuOSJJz
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) November 18, 2017
Sushil Kumar was back on the mat after 3 long years. In the entire tournament, he had to fight for a mere 2 minutes and 33 seconds in the two initial fights after which he got walkovers in the quarter, semifinal and final.