Sushil Kumar weighs his options
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Sushil Kumar doesn't have fond memories of 2013. Going through an intense rehab programme at the Sports Authority of India's Sonepat Centre, he was counting the days until the end of the year, hoping for a better 2014.
One can imagine why.
After a dream 2012, where he won his second Olympic medal, Sushil spent the entire year after that on the sidelines, nursed an injury (shoulder), missed the World championships and saw his sport being booted out of the Olympics before it was reinstated by the International Olympic Committee.
Little did he know, though, that the return to Olympics would come with the dreaded 'conditions apply' note.
Just when things were looking bright for him, Sushil is left grappling with another setback. Earlier this week, the international wrestling federation (FILA) rejigged the weight categories in its bid to modernise wrestling. In the process, Sushil's weight class, 66kg, along with his childhood friend and London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt's (60kg), has been dropped from the Olympics and other international events.
The duo is now forced to change their weight categories and move out of their comfort zone.
"It's very disappointing. I've had a frustrating year where I have spent the entire time out of wrestling. I have been training hard and my injury is now healed. I was really looking forward to a successful 2014. However, the equation has changed now," he said. "We knew FILA would change weight categories for the next Olympics but the fact that all three categories in which we have won international medals have been scrapped is a setback."
At the Rio Games, 57 and 65kg categories will replace the 55, 60 and 66kg events that were part of the London Games. Twenty-year-old Amit Kumar, who won silver medal at this year's world championships in 55kg, will now compete in the 57kg division.
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