The first Indian wrestler to have won back to back Olympic Medals for India in wrestling, Sushil Kumar has emerged as one of the leading names in freestyle wrestling over the years. He leads the Indian contingent as the flag bearer in the London Olympics in 2012 where he also went on to win a silver for the country adding to his Beijing Olympics bronze in 2008. Champion Wrestler Sushil Kumar to be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna has quite an illustrious list of achievements to his name.
Champion Wrestler Sushil Kumar
He was inspired by his cousin to take up wrestling at the age of 14 who gave up wrestling so that Sushil could train in the grounds. He owes his success to his cousin Sandeep whose giving up wrestling enabled his father to pay for Sushil’s coaching.
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Became Haryana State Champion at the age of 18. Despite winning many tournaments he was without a sponsor till after the Beijing Olympics.
Became the first Indian athlete to win two Olympic medals for the country after a bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012. He has one gold and one silver at the Asian Championships and also boasts of five gold at the Commonwealth Championships.
Kumar has won all major tournaments possible for a wrestler and is among one of the few wrestlers in the world to achieve this outstanding feat.
His most famous victory came when he defeated Famara Jarjou of Gambia in 9 seconds at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
He was the most searched athlete at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 which is a testimony to his international recognition.
He is an avid promoter of animal welfare and has campaigned for PETA’s go vegetarian campaign. He proved that it is not necessary to follow a non-vegetarian diet to become a wrestler. Vegetarians also have a lot of strength.
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Apart from his wrestling career, he is also an employee in the Indian Railways as an assistant commercial manager.
He is the first wrestler to have been conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honor in India.
Kumar refused the offer of ₹5 million to appear in an ad for a leading liquor brand.
On 12 April 2018, he won gold in 74 kg category by beating South Africa’s Johannes Botha in the final that lasted 80 seconds. He won 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive commonwealth games.