Sushil provides the silver lining on last day, raises India’s medal count at London Olympics to six

first_imgSushil Kumar scripted history on Sunday as he became the first Indian athlete to win back-to-back Olympic medals, though the silver effort in the 66kg final did not leave him too pleased.Egged on by a huge crowd in an atmosphere resembling a Roman amphitheater, a dehydrated Sushil fought his heart out all day long before a strong Japanese opponent in the final answering to the name of Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu stopped him.This was a day full of expectations when people kept talking about only “gold”. Yet, at the end of the Games, with India’s medal tally reading two silver and four bronze medals, there is plenty of reason to celebrate.For hundreds of Indian supporters inside the arena and millions back home, this was a day when the prayer was Sushil wins gold.The way the champion fought all day long, with a superlative effort coming in the semi-final against Kazakhstan’s Akzhurek Tanatarov, Sushil had raised huge hopes.However, in the 66kg final, against Tatshuiro, Sushil looked tired. Tatsuhiro, who had won gold in the same category at the Guangzhou Asian Games, was too explosive.The strategy was simple and the Japanese wrestler went on the offensive from the start and earned a valuable point in the first round itself.In the second round, Tatsuhiro showed amazing guts and power as he lifted Sushil and dropped him to the ground. With a minute for the bout to end, it was clear Sushil had no energy to fight back.As the referee signalled victory for the star from the land of the rising sun, Sushil was dejected. The Indian slapped both his palms on his thighs and took slow, measured steps back to his coaches.advertisementAt the medal ceremony, too, Sushil never smiled as he was presented the silver medal. As he came out of the arena and walked to the waiting media, Sushil’s expressions changed.The half smile reappeared on his face and he had reason to as he is the first Indian to win two individual Olympic medals. The TV scribes wanted to grab him and the print media was also were hungry for bytes. “Yes, I had loose motions. As a sportsperson, I have to take it in my stride. It’s part of the game,” said Sushil.But the champion was not going to offer ill health as an excuse. “I had problems in the final but I have no excuses. Yes, our national anthem was not played and I would have loved to hear that,” said Sushil.Reflecting on the journey from Beijing to London, Sushil was nostalgic. “I wish to thank all the people for their love and wishes and those who prayed for me. I wish to thank my guru Satpal and my parents. I also wish to thank each one of my support staff,” he said as if it was a thanksgiving speech.Stressing on the importance of coaches, masseurs, doctors and others who assist him, Sushil said: “You see me only competing in the centre of the stage. But I have a huge support team which backs me, and they are the ones who also need to be praised.”Before I came to London I told you (the media) we will do well in wrestling and see I changed the colour of my medal. Not just that, India won two medals in wrestling and I am happy Yogeshwar also did well.”I can assure you, in future Olympics, we will do even better,” concluded Sushil.So how was Sushil going to celebrate? “I wish to rest now. The last five months have been very hectic. I need to recover well and then think of celebrations,” said the modest man.This was a day when Sushil caught the attention of all from early morning itself as he downed Beijing Olympics gold medallist Sahin Ramazan from Turkey.Having beaten the defending champion, expectations grew that Sushil would continue till the end. But the real drama came in the semi-finals when it appeared Sushil was down and out against Kazakhstan’s Akzhurek Tanatarov.However, in the second round, Sushil gathered his breath and in one clean action lifted and threw his opponent.With the Kazakh seen bleeding from the right ear there were rumours if Sushil had bit his opponent. Replays suggested the injury took place during the normal course of the bout and Sushil had not indulged in any foul play.last_img

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