Sushil Kumar, India’s most successful wrestler, has also been one of the country’s most controversial athletes in recent times. His career gleams with the Olympic silver and bronze of London and Beijing but it’s also been muddied by a series of controversies.

The brawl between his supporters and those of fellow wrestler Praveen Rana at the KD Jadhav Stadium on Friday and the subsequent FIR filed against them is the latest in Sushil’s trysts with controversies.

Here is a timeline of all the controversies in Sushil’s career.

Skipping the Asian Games

After winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2014, Sushil was the automatic choice for that year’s Asian Games. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decided to rest him for the world championship. Sushil, who wanted to compete in the world championship as well, pulled out of the Asian Games to prepare for the next season.

Rio selection tussle

The lead-up to India’s 2016 Olympic campaign was mired by the court battle between Sushil and Narsingh Yadav. Sushil had moved the Delhi High court seeking the organisation of a trial bout against Narsingh to determine India’s entry in the 74 kg wrestling event at Rio.

Narsingh had won the country’s quota for the Games at the World Championships in Las Vegas in September 2015. Sushil, meanwhile, had not participated in a competitive event since winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but wanted a chance to compete at Rio.

The court refused Sushil’s demand, stating that a last-minute trial “may be jeopardising the chances of the selected candidate to win, having disastrous consequences for national interest.”

Sushil was then accused by the wrestling federation of spiking Narsingh’s food, which led the Rio Olympics-bound wrestler to fail a dope test.

In the court battle, the WFI accused Sushil of being more inclined towards his commercial interests than training and competing. It also alleged that he stayed alone and practiced away from the national team in a camp it had organised in Georgia.

“Because of this, the chief national coach Jagminder Singh had given a report that he could not give any opinion about Sushil’s fitness or training levels,” senior advocate Pradeep Dewan, representing WFI, had told the Delhi High Court.

Conflict of interest

The Sports Ministry under Vijay Goel had appointed Sushil as one of the national observers for Mission Olympics 2020, 2024 and 2028. But according to the current guidelines, an observer “should be a non-active sportsperson” and “should have finished active sporting career”.

Sushil’s rival Narsingh Yadav had written to the Sports Ministry objecting his appointment as the advisor. An official quoted in the report claimed Narsingh had written that Sushil would favour students from his father-in-law’s akhada in Satpal.

“That is up to him to write to anyone he feels like, raising whatever objection. I have no hard feelings for anyone or about anything,” Sushil had said in response to Narsingh’s letter.

“Moreover I do not understand how it is conflict of interest. I am just a national observer, whose job is to monitor the sport of wrestling and give feedback to build a good squad for future Olympics,” Sushil had added.

A triumph tarnished by walkovers

Sushil Kumar’s gold medal win in the 74-kg category in this year’s national wrestling championship could have been a tale of heroic comeback. But the manner of his victory – with the help of three walkovers – raised questions about sportsmanship in Indian wrestling. A rusty Sushil gathered victories against two easy opponents in the preliminary stage before receiving three straight walkovers from the quarterfinal stage.

“I do not think it is controversial at all,” Sushil had told The Times of India after the championship. “I was here to compete and I walked into the arena to fight against my opponents, but if they did not step up to fight me what can I do?”

A brawl after the bout

The wrestling trials for next year’s Commonwealth Games turned into a brawl after Sushil beat arch-rival Praveen Rana in one of the bouts, triggering a clash between their supporters.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code against wrestler Sushil Kumar on charges of attacking Parveen Rana and his brother Naveen.

Rana, after losing to Sushil in the semi-final clash, claimed that the Olympic bronze medallist’s supporters beat him and his elder brother “for daring to take the ring” against him.

Sushil, on the other hand, claimed that he was bitten by Rana during the bout.