Euphoric Sushil dedicates medal to mentor Satpal (Lead)

August 20th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 20 (IANS) For the first few seconds after he had been adjudged the winner, wrestler Sushil Kumar, was dazed. Thoroughly exhausted after three nerve-wracking bouts in less than 75 minutes, he looked around, first for the coach and then for a bottle of water. And then quickly he was engulfed by his coach, P.P. Sondhi and then former Asian Games gold medallist Kartar Singh, who is accompanying the team as a manager. Minutes later, the 25-year-old Sushil realising the enormity of his achievement began looking around and found his mentor Satpal Singh and ran towards him.

“I owe my career to Satpal Singhji, who is my guru and taught me all I know. I dedicate this medal to him,” he said minutes after winning the bronze.

“This is my greatest moment. I know lot of people may not have thought we (wrestling team) could win a medal, but we did think we could,” said Sushil, who stands all of five feet and four inches.

The 2008 Asian bronze medallist is now an Olympic medallist. “All sportspersons dream of an Olympic medal. I was upset after losing the first round, which I could have won.”

Asked how he felt during the periods in between the Repechage bouts, Sushil said: “There is not much time to think. The coaches were talking to me and I was myself trying to relax and get ready for the next fight.”

Despite the early loss, Sushil did not lose heart. “I thought I could have won the bout in the morning, but still luck was with me as the Ukraine wrestler reached the final and I got into the Repachage. It was still not easy and fighting three bouts in just over one hour is very tiring and tough.”

“It was not easy out there. I had to compete in four bouts today, which did make me weary towards the end. I had not played against Doug Schwab (USA) and Albert Batyrov (Belarus) earlier. So they were unknown rivals for me. But once I got past them and had Leonid Spiridonov (Kazakhstan) against me, I sensed my chance. I said to myself ‘I cannot let it go after coming so close to a medal’. And if I was tired, so was he,” said Sushil.

Three-times Asian Games medallist, Kartar added: “We have all been preparing for the Games and over the years, wrestling has been a sport, which has come close to medals even at Olympics.”

“This is a great medal for Indian wrestling and will go a long way in promoting Olympic sports in India,” added Kartar, who in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics was seventh. He won the gold in 1978 and 1986 Asian Games and silver in 1982 in Delhi.

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