New Delhi: An Asian Games medal has been the only feat that has eluded star wrestler Sushil Kumar so far and he has now set his sights at finishing on the podium in the Incheon Games later this year.
Sushil has won medals in Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships but is still without a podium finish at the Asian Games. He missed the last Asiad in 2010 in Guangzhou due to injury.
"I have won medals in all the major events, be it the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games. Only an Asian Games medal is left for me. So I want to win a medal in Incheon. I hope I can win a gold there," he said on the sidelines of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Roadshow here.
Sushil, who won a bronze and a silver in 66kg freestyle in 2008 and 2012 Olympics respectively, said that his preparations for Glasgow Commonwealth Games (July-August) and Incheon Asian Games (September-October) has been going on well despite having to shift to higher weight categories due to change in rules.
"My preparation has been going on well though it`s not easy to shift weight category. My body may be affected because I have to fight in two different weight categories in Glasgow and Incheon. But that`s part and parcel of a sportsman`s career. I think I will be able to cope with that," said Sushil, who was today made Incheon Asian Games Goodwill Ambassador along with archer Deepika Kumari.
Due to change in rules by FILA and to accommodate fellow 2012 Olympics medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, Sushil will now contest in 74kg category in Glasgow and 70kg in Incheon.
He had not taken part in any event after the 2012 London Olympics but Suhsil said two competitive tournaments and a training stint abroad should suffice to get himself to top form.
"I think one foreign training stint and two tournaments should suffice. The federation will decide in a few days the training and competition schedule of the wrestlers for the CWG and the Asian Games."
"There is going to be a training camp for one month in USA but we have yet to know the dates. If I peaked early say in 15 days, my coach may recommend to go for a competition. Let`s us see," he said.
Sushil felt the sports scenario in the country has been
changing in the past few years with Indians beginning to win medals in top events, including the Olympics.
"I feel Olympic sports are spreading at every villages of the country. We have been doing well in the Olympics, winning medals. So India has grown in sports."
Former world number one archer Deepika Kumari also wants to grab her maiden Asian Games gold in Incheon though she said it won`t be easy to achieve that.
"The competition will be tough in Incheon no doubt as the South Koreans will be real tough there.
But it`s about your mental strength and performance on the day that matters. So I am hoping that I can win a gold in Incheon," said Deepika who won gold in the World Cup Stage 3 and 4 last year.
Deepika won a gold each in individual recurve and team recurve in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games but archery has been taken off the 2014 and 2018 CWG.
Deepika rued she and her team-mates badly needed a psychologist for mental conditioning but has not got one for a long time.
"We have expressed our desire to have a psychologist for the team bur somehow we have not got it. May be the federation may not have got a suitable person for the job."
The Indian archers have been training under a South Korean coach for some time but Deepika does not feel that it could be a deciding factor in Incheon.
"It`s not going to be a crucial factor. There has been consistent pressure to perform on me after winning the gold in 2010 Delhi CWG. So I am now focusing on how to remain relaxed under pressure," she said.
The current world number three also said that she would want to regain the top spot.
"The World Cup is starting (with the Stage 1 in China next month). World Cup carries ranking points. So I want to do well in the World Cups and I want to regain world number one."