Narsingh had won the Olympic quota place in the 74kg category at the World Championships. But double Olympic-medallist Sushil, who missed the event owing to a shoulder injury, has insisted that a trial be held to determine who should ultimately represent India at the Rio Games. “It is the Federation criteria that has to be followed.
We can’t interfere. They are autonomous body. It is the responsibility of the Federation,” Sonowal said categorically at a ministry program. Narsingh, who won the quota place with a bronze medal finish at the World Championship, asserts that he is the best in 74kg category and thus should compete.
Sushil had won his two Olympic medals in the 66kg division and has upgraded after a revamp of the weight categories. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has so far not clarified on the issue, leaving room for speculation and controversy.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Joint Secretary Rakesh Gupta said even if Sushil’s name was not in the probables list sent to them by WFI for accreditations, his name can still be added later. “See, on Wednesday, Babita and Ravinder Khatri qualified. There names were not there in the list but that does not mean they will not go. If someone qualifies after one month, will that athlete not go?,” Gupta, who is India’s Chef de Mission for Rio Games, said making it clear that if WFI wants Sushil to go, it will be done.
Sonowal said according to the inputs he has received from various National Sports Federations (NSFs), there is a strong possibility that India can win more than 10 medals. Sonowal was speaking at a function to release the case study done by IIM Ahmadabad on successful conduct of South Asian Games.
The study was conducted under professor Sanjeev Tripathi. The IIM faculty member said it was pulled off in about 100 days because of “fast decision making” and good cooperation between Sports Authority of India and the Ministry.
“Also, with the Minister deciding to head the Organising Committee made an impact. There were fears among officers due to the baggage of 2010 Commonwealth Games but the teams bonded well to make it a success,” Tripathi said.
Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav said it looked technically impossible to host the event in such a short time but it was made possible by team work. He said participation of a few countries was not confirmed but they sent out delegations to generate participation and eventually 3500 athletes competed.
WFI denies dropping Sushil from Rio list
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Thursday denied sending any list of Olympic probables, sans Sushil Kumar, to the Indian Olympic Association, insisting that the two-time medallist is not yet out of contention for the Rio Games.
WFI clarified that it has been a regular practice for the United World Wrestling to send the list of all those who have secured berths in their respective weight categories at various Olympic qualifying tournaments to IOA.
Emphasising that the probables list not having Sushil’s name does not mean he would not go to Rio, WHI said that president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will take a decision on holding the trials.
“This list of probables is not sent by WFI but by the United World Wrestling. After all the trials are over, the world body compiles the names of all those wrestlers who have secured Olympic berths for their country in various divisions at different qualifying tournaments and send it to their respective Olympic Federations,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
The official remained not committal over whether Sushil or Narsingh Yadav will represent India at the Olympics in men’s 74kg freestyle category, reiterating that the decision to hold the trials is yet to be taken.
“No decision is yet being taken, WFI president is going to take the decision on whether and when to hold the trails. So question on whether Sushil is not going does not arise,” said Tomar.
Narsingh had secured the Olympic quota place for India last year at the World Championship in Las Vegas after winning a bronze medal in 74kg category. Since then the Maharashtra grappler has been staking his claim for the berth, while former world champion Sushil has been asking for trials.
Sushil had won a bronze medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver at the London Games four year later in men’s 66kg freestyle. Since the weight divisions were rejiged by the world body, Sushil has moved up a division to 74kg. Narsingh had participated at the 2012 London Olympics in 74kg category itself.