The 36-year-old wrestler is preparing hard for the upcoming Olympics.
Star wrestler Sushil Kumar is the only Indian to win two Olympic medals in an individual event. A historic bronze at Beijing (2008) and a silver medal at London (2012) made him an icon for every India sports fan. However, he has only played in seven events in the last seven years.
Age is catching up with Sushil Kumar, but he is still confident about his potential and dismissed any idea of retirement. His last medal came at the 2018 Commonwealth Games when he won a gold medal in the 74 kg category.
“I don’t feel bad when people say age is getting the better of me because they love me and support me as well. Yes, I’m ageing and I cannot change the fact, but I believe that with age comes experience,” said Sushil Kumar to the Olympic Channel.
“One’s ability to play gets richer as well. Some things are taken away with age, but one also gets a whole lot of things. So, I would bank on my experience to play. Once you win a medal, people will always want you to win another one. But I want to convey to everyone that I am never under pressure. I focus on my fitness and training and I believe everything will go fine.”
The Haryana-based wrestler won two Olympic medals in the 66 kg weight category but later shifted to 74 kg. He started training with Russian coach Kamal Malikov before the start of the World Championships last year. He is currently focused on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics which have been rescheduled to 2021 due to ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Sushil Kumar went on to add, “My primary focus is on qualifying for the Olympics and only then that will I plan about other things.”
“One cannot perform well with too much going in the head. I haven’t thought anything about my retirement.”
Further, he supported the decision of postponement of the games and said, “The decision was right because health comes first. We can all see that the whole world is affected by it. The Olympic preparations span over a long period of time but one cannot really do much in such a scenario.”
India currently have four quota places for the Tokyo Olympics. Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya are likely to travel to Japan as part of the Indian wrestlers’ contingent next year.