World title will raise wrestling`s profile in India: Sushil

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 12:55

New Delhi: Emotionally overwhelmed after
becoming the first Indian wrestler to clinch a gold in the
World Championships, Sushil Kumar on Tuesday hoped that his feat
will help raise the profile of his dope-tainted sport in the
country.

"This gold means a lot to me because all the wrestlers
dream of becoming a world champion some day but only a few go
on to realise this dream. I am one of the lucky few," Sushil
told reporters after returning late last night to a rousing
reception here.

"I am the first wrestler from India to win the World
Championship. It is great for the sport because all wrestlers
will now think if Sushil can, why cannot I? This gold will
motivate youngsters to take up wrestling as a professional
sport," the 27-year-old, who is also an Olympic bronze
medallist, said.

On Sunday, Sushil outclassed Alan Gogaev of Russia in the
final of the 66kg freestyle category to become the first
Indian wrestler to conquer a world title at the senior level.

He realises the magnitude of his achievement but the
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee remains a grounded man and
credited the feat to some hard work and lots of blessings of
his countrymen.

"It is great feeling to have won the gold in the World
Championship. I am very happy that I could keep the honour,
love and respect the countrymen had bestowed on me," Sushil
said.

"It (gold in World Championship) was my target for long.
So if I say that I wasn`t expecting the gold, it would be
wrong. I had been working very hard for this and finally it
paid off," he added.

Asked to compare the Olympic bronze with the World
Championships gold, the soft-spoken grappler said, "Both
matter a lot to me. I cannot compare them."

"Both the feats have equal significance in my career
because there are some wrestlers in the world who have won
four or five World Championships but are still looking for
their first medal in the Olympics," Sushil said.

After conquering the world, Sushil hardly has any time
for celebrations as his next target is to defend his
Commonwealth Games crown here next month and the Asian Games
title in Guangzhou, China in November.

"I am now focusing on the Commonwealth Games and the
Asian Games. And I expect similar results in both the events,"
he said.

Speaking about the doping controversies that have rocked
the sport in India, Sushil requested his fellow wrestlers not
to defame the sport by indulging in such malicious activities.

"Doping is a crime. It`s not that your performance will
double after taking dope. So, I will urge all the wrestlers to
be aware about doping and play dope free," said Sushil, who
idolises his coach Satpal.

Four wrestlers, including Arjuna awardee Rajiv Tomar,
from the Commonwealth Games core group tested positive for a
banned substance recently creating a crisis for the sport.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 12:55
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