Coach wants to see me picking Olympic gold: Sushil Kumar

New Delhi [India]: Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar, who is currently recovering well from a knee injury, on Monday said that former Indian wrestling coach Vladimir Merstervishvili wants to see him picking a gold medal in Olympics.

“Vladimir always tell me that as I have bagged silver and bronze, my only target should be picking an Olympic gold. He had always dreamt of seeing me winning Olympic gold. He is looking for that satisfaction as a coach. His target is to see me winning gold. I always try to abide by their (coaches) schedule,” Sushil told ANI.

On that note, the name of the wrestler, who has been training under Vladimir, hasn’t been recommended by the WFI for receiving funding under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme. He is also not entitled for Rs 50,000 monthly stipend offered by the Sports Ministry to elite athletes.

When asked if he is funding his tour, Sushil said, “Yes, I am handling my expenses on my own. One agency is helping me in it i.e Olympic Gold Quest. The agency’s CEO and former India hockey skipper Viren Rasquinha is supporting me.”

Earlier, the 34-year-old grappler’s hopes to clinch a third medal in Olympics ended in controversial acrimony, after he failed to make it to the team for the prestigious event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

After spending two years away from the mat, Sushil returned to compete at the National Championship, only to see himself mired in controversy for winning the gold in the tournament after his three opponents conceded a walkover.

Currently Sushil is recovering from the injury, which also forced him to miss the Pro Wrestling League and Asian Championships.

Reflecting on the same, Sushil said that he is absolutely fine at the moment and is hoping to have a good year, which will witness top events like Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

“The injury is absolutely fine now. I had asked for 10 more days as I have to play big tournaments in the coming days. I have told my situation to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. He advised me to pay attention to big tournaments. I am preparing pretty well. I just want your blessings, so that 2018 will be a good year for me. And I continue to make my country proud through wrestling.”

Commenting on his preparation for the upcoming events, Sushil said that he has always tried to perform well, adding that he just needs everyone’s support so that he continues to perform at the best of his abilities and make his country proud.

“I just need everyone’s support. I have always tried to perform well for the country. I am continuing to work hard. Our coaches Mahavir, Satpal and Vladimir all are working as a unit towards achieving good results for the country. And the desire the fans have from us, we hope to stand by it,” said Sushil.

The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is slated to be held from April 4 and will run till April 15, which will be followed by Asian Games from August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia. (ANI)