Two-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler Sushil Kumar has revealed that he almost quit wrestling when he was not selected to represent India at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, reported The Tribune.
Suhsil Kumar who won a silver and brone at Olympics later on in his career won a trial to earn the right to represent India at CWG, but Shokinder Tomar was picked in his place instead.
Sushil who was part of a low-income group family was eyeing the cash prizes for medallists at the Games that were announced by then sports minister Uma Bharti. Gold medallist would get Rs 20 lakh, Silver medal winners would get Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for bronze medallists.
“I cried when my name was withdrawn. You should remember I was from a lower-income family and winning the cash prize would have solved a lot of problems,” Sushil said during a webinar organised by a university.
“When I was replaced, I decided to quit mat wrestling and concentrate more on dangals as a means to earn a livelihood. But a former wrestler, Uday Chand-ji, told me not to lose heart and said: ‘You don’t know, you may get bigger chances to perform than this one’. Thankfully, I listened to him and continued. I always share this story with my near and dear ones,” Sushil added.
It proved to be the right decision as Sushil Kumar went on to be one of India’s greatest wrestlers. He won a gold medal in the 2010 World Wrestling Championships and three more gold medals at Commonwealth Games.