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. Today a household name, the first Indian wrestler to be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna has quite an illustrious list of achievements to his name.
- 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.
- 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 golds at the Commonwealth Championships. He 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.
- Was the most searched athlete at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 which is a testimony to his international recognition.
- Is an avid promoter of animal welfare and has campaigned for PETA’s go vegetarian campaign? Has proved that it is not necessary to follow a non-vegetarian diet to become a wrestler. Look at me, I defeated non vegetarians from America and Kazakhstan in the Olympics. So you can see that vegetarians have a lot of strength.”
- Apart from his wrestling career, he is also an employee in the Indian Railways as an assistant commercial manager.
- Is the first wrestler to have been conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honor in India.
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