Fighting the Fittest

India’s wrestling champion Sushil Kumar Solanki has risen to become one of the most sought after sportspersons of the country. He created history, becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal at FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships.

Solanki’s tough fight has seen him become an Olympics Bronze and Silver medallist from a boy growing up in a village in South West Delhi.

He has received the most prestigious sports accolades of the nation, including the Arjuna award in 2006 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2009.

 

Early life

Sushil Kumar was born on May 26 1983 in the village of Baprola. Kumar’s father, Diwan Singh, was a DTC bus driver and mother Kamla Devi a housewife.

He was inspired to take up wrestling by his cousin Sandeep, and his father who was himself a wrestler.

 

Training

Trained at the akhada by Indian pehlwans Yashvir and Ramphal, and later by Arjuna awardee Satpal, and then at the Railways camp by Coach Gyan Singh.

Kumar was trained with little resources due to limited funds; Sushil endured tough training conditions which included sharing a mattress with a fellow wrestler and sharing a dormitory with twenty others.    

 

Early Career

At the age of 18 he became state champ. His first success came at the World Cadet Games in 1998 where he won the gold medal in his weight category. He followed this up with gold in the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship in 2000.

Moving out of junior category Kumar won the bronze medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships in 2003 and followed that up with a gold medal at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. He won gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in 2005 and 2007.

Kumar has won a total of 13 international medals including eight-gold, three-bronze and two-silver in Olympics, Commonwealth games, Asian Championships, Commonwealth Championship and World Championships.

 

Endorsements

Sushil Kumar endorses brands such as Mountain Dew, Eicher tractors and National Egg Coordination Committee which earns him Rs10 million annually. He refused the offer of Rs 5 million to appear in a Surrogate ad for a leading liquor brand.

 

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