Golden days are here, says Sushil

our special correspondent

London: Last year, Sushil Kumar was in great distress when his father was diagnosed with cancer.

So upset was the wrestler that it even disturbed his training schedule. His coaches were worried and had to make a lot of effort to keep the champion wrestler focussed during that period.

On Sunday evening, minutes after winning the silver in the 66 kg freestyle, Sushil said he was thankful to his parents for making him a wrestler.

"They made me a wrestler, they encouraged me to practice hard. Because of them I could stand on the podium for two consecutive Olympics. I owe everything to them."

While Sushil was talking to newsmen, standing at the corner of the mixed zone was his wife, Savi, who had specially come to watch her husband perform at the Olympics. She smiled when several fans congratulated her for Sushil's achievement. "We have only spent two months together since getting married last year. Sushil was very busy with his training," Savi said.

"Now that Sushil is planning to take some rest after the Olympics, I hope to spend more time with him," added a smiling Savi. Sushil said he will definitely relax for a few days but would return to the mat with renewed energy.

"Let me tell you one thing. Golden days are here," he said. "Before coming to Olympics, I had predicted that wrestlers would get more than one medal. I have been proved right," the silver medallist said proudly.

Asked whether he bit the ear of his rival Akzurukh Tantarov in the semi-final as alleged by some Kazakh officials, Sushil laughed. "There was nothing like that," he said. Team coach Yashvir also denied the incident. "Why don't you look at the video? You won't find anything like that," he said.

Yogeshwar Dutt, India's other medallist in wrestling, stayed with Sushil throughout the day and cheered him from the sidelines. "We are childhood friends. We are also roommates here. I consider Sushil's victory as my victory," said the bronze medallist in the 60 kg freestyle category.

On Saturday night, Yogeshwar did not even celebrate his bronze medal win. "My job was to motivate him … So did not celebrate and concentrated on Sushil's event," said Yogeshwar adding that he had a long chat with Sushil before the bout against Sahin Ramazan of Turkey in the second round.

Also present at the ExCel was Satpal, the former Asian champion and the coach of Sushil and Yogeshwar. "It is a proud moment for me since two of my students won medals here. Sushil, of course, looked tired in the final. Moreover, the Japanese (Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu) was far better than our boy," said Satpal. Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary Raj Singh, however, claimed that a fit Sushil would have won the gold.

"He was dehydrated and it affected his performance. Even before the final, Sushil was vomiting."