‘There is no short cut to an Olympic medal…’ Hard work pays off for humble Sushil

first_imgHours after the medal ceremony got over, Sushil Kumar was still hanging around the Excel Arena in east London.Despite being India’s most valuable athlete with back-to-back Olympic medals, he remained modest. With one TV channel after the other grilling the wrestler, he was left with no energy.”Bhai sahaab, thakaan bahut hai, par media to hameshaaa saaath hai mere (I am really tired, but media has always been with me),” he told Mail Today.Now and then Sushil fell silent, watching aircrafts land and take off from the nearby London City airport. The journey from Beijing to London had been a challenging one. “After I won the bronze medal in Beijing, I still felt I had a lot more to achieve,” he said.In between, there were personal problems for the champion. In 2009, when he came to know his father had throat cancer, he was very upset. Yet, like a true champion, he remained positive and passed on that energy to his father.”I am really happy that the Rajiv Gandhi cancer hospital took care of my dad. I don’t know what all they gave him, but fourth stage throat cancer was treated. It was then I realised how good God has been to me,” said an emotional Sushil.Even as Sushil was giving interviews, his wife Savi was waiting with friends. Not once did the lady disturb the champion as he explained his journey. Having missed the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, Sushil wanted to bounce back. “I had to train hard all the time. There is no short cut in any sport and I laboured hard. My parents wanted me to get married and I did so. For me, all the wrestlers in Chhatraasal Stadium are family. Yogeshwar is like my brother. It’s only now I go home once in a while as I am married,” he said cheekily. Sushil admitted that having a personal physio helped him in London. “Initially, I was ready to bring my physio (Arvinderpal Singh) on my own expense. But I thank the federation that they picked up his bill,” he said.Sushil also clarified that though his physio did not have an accreditation card, he spent a lot of time relaxing him in the Games Village. “I was able to sign him into the Village as a guest and I will not complain about it. Inside the arena, between bouts, my coaches spent time massaging my body,” said Sushil.The champion disclosed how once he was not even able to move his left hand. “These are the times when physios and the support team come into play,” he said.Finally, Sushil spoke on the semi-final incident where his Kazakh opponent Akzhurek Tanatarov was bleeding from the right ear.”I am aware that people speculated if I bit his ear. I did nothing like that,” said Sushil. “In fact, if you see replay of the bout, my opponent was targeting my eye. And when I got my chance to pick and throw him down, he may have got injured. In our sport, there is no scope for being soft. We have to be aggressive and only then do we get scoring points.”My head may have grazed his ear and he bled, that’s about it. Incidents like these do happen in wrestling and we Indians believe in competing fair and square,” stressed Sushil.So how did Sushil cope with a shoulder injury and dehydration? “It was tough as I did lose weight. But then my coaches kept telling me to go on and on. For me, winning a gold was the dream. Desh ke samman ki baat hai (it was a matter of the country’s honour),” he said.Sushil is aware there will be huge celebration when he goes back home. When told that cash awards had started coming in, he smiled. “Aane do naa, bhai sahaab (let them come),” he said, again smiling!As it was time to sign off, Sushil had one difficult question to answer. “I have no plans of retiring. In 2014, we have the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. My coaches in Colarado are already asking me when I am going to resume training,” he said.Amazing, isn’t it? How champions have to work non-stop.advertisementlast_img