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From Olympic glory to Delhi Jail: Sushil Kumar’s meteoric fall from two time Olympic medallist to murder accused

Olympian Sushil Kumar was arrested on Sunday for his involvement in the murder of 23-year-old wrestler Sagar Rana at Chhatrasal Stadium.

Sushil Kumar

The Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi became a mecca for all the wrestlers in the country in 2012 when two wrestlers of this stadium won medals for India at the Olympic Games. The first of them was Sushil Kumar, who started training at the stadium at the age of 14. Sushil burst into the limelight when he won the bronze medal at the 2003 Asian Wrestling Championship before clinching the gold in the 60 kg category at the 2003 Commonwealth Championship.

He never looked ever since as he went on to win 15 more medals for his nation including eight gold medals. Sushil Kumar set forth a revolution in the sports sector of India when he clinched the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics ending India’s 56-year-long wait for an Olympic medal in wrestling. He then went on to better it to silver at the 2012 London Games. In 2010, he won his lone medal in the World Championships as he returned with the gold medal for the 66 kg freestyle category.

Following his great success around the world, Sushil was bestowed with numerous awards to honor his contribution to the sport. He was awarded the Arjuna award in 2005 and further was also bestowed with the Rajiv Gandi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2011, he was also awarded the Padma Shri, country’s highest civilian award. Barring these he was bestowed with numerous cash awards for the laurels he brought to the nation and his state.

Early struggle and rise to success

Sushil Kumar

Coming from a middle-class family, Sushil Kumar didn’t have the right equipment to train. His father was a DTC bus conductor and financial troubles were a regular feature in his household. Despite the troubles, Sushil never gave up and continued to work hard under his coach Satpal Singh.

Eventually, his hard work was awarded as he went to dominate the Commonwealth Championships for three years in a row. The medals proved to be his first steps to success as he continued to rise to fame. His Olympic medal in 2008 sparked a revolution in Indian wrestling.

The wrestlers we see today making our country proud today, from Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta and Babita Phogat, their cousin Vinesh to Rio bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and World medalists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya, all are products of the revolution he sparked. He then followed up his maiden Olympic medal with a Gold medal in the World Championships as he became the first Indian to achieve the feat.

Sushil Kumar Achievements

Sushil Kumar
MEDALTOURNAMENTYEAR
BronzeAsian Championship2003
GoldCommonwealth Championship2003
GoldCommonwealth Championship (Freestyle)2005
BronzeCommonwealth Championship (Greeko-Roman)2005
BronzeAsian Games2006
GoldCommonwealth Championship2007
SilverAsian Championship2007
BronzeBeijing Olympics2008
BronzeAsian Championship2008
GoldCommonwealth Championship2009
GoldWorld Championship2010
GoldCommonwealth Games2010
GoldAsian Championship2010
SilverLondon Olympics2012
GoldCommonwealth Games2014
GoldCommonwealth Championship2017
GoldCommonwealth Games2018

Sushil Kumar makes headlines for all the wrong reasons

Sushil Kumar

Sushil continued to build on his success at the twin Olympics and clinched gold medals in the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 74 kg category. While he seemed to be enjoying great success, Sushil hogged the lime lights for the wrong reasons in 2016 for the first time. He found himself toe to toe with the national wrestling federation over the matter of representing India at the Rio Olympics.

While Maharashtra’s Narsingh Yadav had sealed the berth, Sushil demanded trials by virtue of his records. Yadav eventually couldn’t represent his country as he ended up failing a dope test just weeks before the Olympics. The Maharashtra grappler then claimed that he was victim of a conspiracy and even filed an FIR against a young wrestler from Chhatrasal, accusing him of tampering with his food.

In 2018 Sushil was yet again in the headlines as he found himself stuck neck-deep in a swamp. Following a heated bout, Sushil’s opponent Parveen Rana and his brother were assaulted by a crowd. They were severely injured and needed immediate medical assistance. The crowd was said to be that of Sushil’s supporters and an FIR was filed agaist the Olympic medalist and his supporters.

Also read: Sonepat camps called off; Indian Wrestling contingent for Tokyo Olympics 2021 set to fly for Poland

Sagar Rana Murder Case – The Final Act?

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar now has been named as the prime accused in the Chhatrasal Stadium scuffle incident where Sagar Rana, a former junior national champion, lost his life on May 4. It is believed that two factions of wrestlers allegedly opened fire on each other, leaving several injured and 23-year-old Sagar dead. An FIR of murder, abduction and criminal conspiracy was registered against Kumar and the star grappler was absconding since the night of the scuffle.

Sushil Kumar was arrested early Sunday morning after a twenty-day search by the Delhi Police. After various raids conducted by the special cell, the arrest was done after a tip-off that the police received that Sushil and his accomplice Ajay Kumar would be traveling near Mundka and therefore, a trap was laid. Later reports suggest that Delhi Police has hailed Sushil’s action equivalent to that of a “trained criminal“.

Sushil Kumar has been suspended from his post of senior commercial manager at Northern Railways with immediate effect after being arrested. The suspension was the result of the criminal investigation that is taking place. Reports suggest that on the first day, Sushil refused to eat anything and was awake all night in the lock-up. He is also said to have cried many times during the course of the night.

Will Sushil Kumar lose his Padma Shri award?

Sushil Kumar

There is no clarity regarding the grounds which might lead to cancellation of the Padma Awards. But someone who is awarded one of the highest civilian awards of the country has a responsibility to uphold its honor. Sources claim that the home minister will be taking a call on whether Sushil Kumar’s Padma awarded will be cancelled. But there is some time before the government reaches the decision.

The President may cancel and annul the award of the decoration to any person and thereupon his name shall be erased from the Register and he shall be required to surrender the decoration and the Sanad. But it shall be competent for the President to restore the decoration and the Sanad and to withdraw the orders of cancellation and annulment,” the Padma Awards scheme reads.

Nonetheless, the accusation has cast a dark shadow on the wrestling community of the country. It is unbelievable how on of the most decorated sportspersons of the country has fallen from his place to involve himself in such heinous acts. People are citing this as a classic case of a modest person’s inability to handle success and fame. No matter what the verdict is on the case, the case will leave a huge impact not only on Sushil Kumar and the much revered Chhatrasal stadium but also tarnish the image of all the wrestlers around the country.

Also read: “Innocent of all wrongdoings” – Sushil Kumar says murder allegations are ‘unfounded and baseless’