Let people write me off, I am preparing for 2021 Tokyo now: Sushil Kumar
New Delhi: “People have this perennial habit of writing me off now and then but it does not affect me,” says veteran wrestler Sushil Kumar, who has not only quashed his retirement talks but is rather bullish about his qualification for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Already on the wrong side of 30s, Sushil was struggling to qualify for the Tokyo Games but the postponement of the quadrennial event has re-ignited his Olympic hopes.
The Summer Games, originally scheduled for July-August this year, were expected to be a swansong for many athletes including Sushil and veteran tennis star Leander paes but the one-year delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put a question-mark over their retirement plans.
Set to turn 37 next month, Sushil, though, ruled out retirement.
“I am not going anywhere as of now. I have got more time and more time means better preparation,” Sushil told PTI in an interview.
Making a comeback at the 2019 World Championship, Sushil showed glimpses of his glorious past with two breathtaking four-point throws before he lost steam and made an early exit.
“Wrestling is such a sport that if you manage to remain injury-free, practice well, set a target and work on that, you can have a shot at that,” added Sushil, the only Indian to win two Olympic medals.
“I am still practising twice a day. Obviously I am not hitting the mat but I am trying to be in shape and God willing I will be able to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” Sushil said.
Sushil competes in the 74kg category in which India is yet to lock Olympic quota. But will he be able to defy age-related issues?
“People were saying the similar things in 2011. I know how to handle this. It’s my daily job to manage it.”