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Sushil Kumar Solanki
Sushil Kumar (wrestler) in 2014 CWG.png
Kumar in 2014
Personal information
Nationality Indian
Born (1983-05-26) 26 May 1983 (age 39)
Delhi, India
Height 166 cm (5 ft 5 in)
Sport
Country India
Sport Wrestling
Event(s) Freestyle
Club NIS, Delhi
Coached by Satpal Singh
Medal record
Representing  India
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games - 1 1
World Championships 1 - -
Asian Games - - 1
Commonwealth Games 3 - -
Asian Championships 1 1 2
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Bronze 2008 Beijing 66 kg
Silver 2012 London 66 kg
World Championships
Gold 2010 Moscow 66 kg
Commonwealth Games
Gold 2010 Delhi 66 kg
Gold 2014 Glasgow 74 kg
Gold 2018 Gold Coast 74 kg
Asian Games
Bronze 2006 Doha 66 Kg
Asian Championships
Bronze 2003 New Delhi 60 kg
Silver 2007 Bishkek 66 kg
Bronze 2008 Jeju Island 66 kg
Gold 2010 New Delhi 66 kg
Commonwealth Championship
Gold 2003 London 60 kg
Gold 2005 Cape Town 66 kg
Gold 2007 London 66 kg
Gold 2009 Jalandhar 66 kg
Gold 2017 Johannesburg 74 kg
Updated on 26 February 2018.

Sushil Kumar Solanki (born 26 May 1983) is a former Indian wrestler. He carried the Indian flag at the opening ceremony of 2012 London Olympics. His 2008 Olympic medal was second for India in wrestling, and the first since Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav's bronze medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics. In July 2009, he received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna – India's highest honour for sportspersons. On 3 October 2010, Kumar handed the Queen's Baton to Prince Charles in the Queen's Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Sushil won the gold medal in the 74 kg division at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Career

Sushilkumar
Kumar at 2008 Summer Olympics

Kumar started training in pehlwani at the Chhatrasal Stadium's akhada at the age of 14. He was trained at the akhada by Yashvir and Ramphal, later by Arjuna awardee Satpal and then at the Indian Railways camp by Gyan Singh and Rajkumar Baisla Gurjar.

After switching to freestyle wrestling Kumar's first success came at the World Cadet Games in 1998 where he won the gold medal in his weight category, followed by a gold at the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship in 2000. Moving out of the junior competitions, in 2003 Kumar won the bronze medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships and a gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. Kumar placed fourth at the 2003 World Championships, but this went largely unnoticed by the Indian media as he fared badly in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, placing 14th in the 60 kg weight class. He won gold medals at the Commonwealth wrestling championships in 2005 and 2007. He placed seventh in the 2007 World Championships and won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He won a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, becoming the first person to win two Olympic medals for independent India. Kumar was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2006 and a coveted Padma Shree by the Indian Government in 2011.

2008 Beijing Olympics

Kumar lost to Andriy Stadnik in the first round of the 66 kg freestyle wrestling event, leaving his medal hopes hinging on the repechage. He defeated Doug Schwab in the first repechage round and Albert Batyrov in the second round. In the bronze medal match on 20 August 2008, Kumar beat Leonid Spiridonov 3:1. Kumar disclosed that he had no masseur during the three bouts he won within a span of 70 minutes to take the bronze. The team manager Kartar Singh who is a former Asian Games medallist acted as the masseur for him.

2010 World Wrestling Championships, Moscow

At the 2010 World Wrestling Championships Kumar became the first Indian to win a world title in wrestling. He beat the local favourite Alan Gogaev of Russia 3–1 in the finals in the 66 kg category.

2010 Commonwealth Games, Delhi

Kumar won gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi on 10 October 2010. He beat Heinrich Barnes 7–0 in the finals in the 66 kg freestyle wrestling category. The bout was stopped by the referee in the second round. Earlier, in the semifinals, Kumar defeated Famara Jarjou 3–0 within 9 seconds. In the quarterfinals, Kumar defeated Muhammad Salman 10–0 in 46 seconds.

2012 London Olympics

Olympic Freestyle Wrestling (66 kg - Medalists)
Kumar (left) at the 2012 Olympics

Kumar won a silver medal after losing the final to Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu. Earlier, he had entered the final amid some controversy by beating Kazakhastan's Akzhurek Tanatarov in the semifinal. The Kazakh athlete claimed that Kumar had bitten his ear, which was denied by the latter. Kumar was the Olympic flag bearer for India at the opening ceremony. This win made him the first Indian to win 2 individual Olympic Medals since India's Independence.

2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow

Kumar defeated Qamar Abbas in the 74 kg final to win the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He won in 107 seconds by fall.

2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia

Kumar won gold in 74 kg category on 12 April 2018, Thursday, beating South Africa’s Johannes Botha in the final that lasted 80 seconds thus achieving a feat of winning 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Commonwealth Games.

International competition

Summer Olympics

Year Competition Venue Event Rank opponent Score Repechage opponent Score
2012 2012 Olympic Games London 66 kg 2  Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (JPN) Loss
2008 2008 Olympic Games Beijing 66 kg 3  Andriy Stadnik (UKR) Loss  Leonid Spiridonov (KAZ) Win
2004 2004 Olympic Games Athens 60 kg 14th  Yandro Quintana (CUB) Loss

World Championship

Year Competition Venue Event Rank opponent Score Repechase Score
2019 2019 World Wrestling Championships Nur-sultan 74 kg 20th  Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (AZE) Loss
2011 2011 World Wrestling Championships Istanbul 66 kg 14th  Andriy Stadnik (UKR) Loss
2010 2010 World Wrestling Championships Moscow 66 kg 1  Alan Gogaev (RUS) Win
2009 2009 World Wrestling Championships Herning 66 kg 5th  Rasul Dzhukayev (RUS) Loss  Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (JPN) Loss
2007 2007 World Wrestling Championships Baku 66 kg 7th  Andriy Stadnik (UKR) Loss
2006 2006 World Wrestling Championships Guangzhou 66 kg 13th  Elman Asgarov (AZE) Loss
2003 2003 World Wrestling Championships New York City 60 kg 4th  Arif Abdullayev (AZE) Loss

Personal life

Kumar was born in a Jat family of Solanki clan in Baprola village, near Najafgarh in South West Delhi. His father, Diwan Singh, was a driver in MTNL Delhi, while his mother, Kamla Devi, is a housewife.

Kumar was inspired to take up wrestling by his father, himself a wrestler, and his cousin Sandeep. Sandeep later stopped competing as the family could only support one wrestler. Kumar trained in pehlwani wrestling at the akhada (wrestling school) in the Chhatrasal Stadium from the age of 14. With minimal funds and poor training facilities for wrestling in India, even for the 2008 Olympic team, his family made sure he obtained the necessary dietary supplements by sending him tinned milk, ghee and fresh vegetables. He is a devoted Hindu and strict vegetarian.

He has completed his Graduation (B.P.E.) and Post-Graduation (M.P.E.) from Noida College of Physical Education, Dadri. Kumar is presently employed with the Indian Railways as an assistant commercial manager.

Commercial endorsements and media

Kumar endorses brands such as Mountain Dew, Eicher tractors, and the National Egg Coordination Committee which earns him INR10 million (US$170,000) annually. He refused the offer of INR5 million (US$85,000) to appear in a surrogate ad for a leading liquor brand.

He appeared in the Indian documentary film Carve Your Destiny by Anubhav Srivastava. Kumar also served as a judge on MTV India's reality television series MTV Roadies. Other media appearances include in The Kapil Sharma Show and Comedy Nights with Kapil.

Awards, rewards and recognition

  • Arjuna Award, 2005
  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award (joint), India's highest sporting honour.
  • Padma Shri, 2011
  • INR5.5 million (US$94,000) cash award and promotion to Assistant Commercial Manager from chief ticketing inspector by Railway Ministry (his employer)
  • INR5 million (US$85,000) cash award from the Delhi Government.
  • INR2.5 million (US$43,000) award by the Haryana Government.
  • INR2.5 million (US$43,000) cash award by the Steel Ministry of India.
  • INR500,000 (US$8,500) cash award by R K Global
  • DSP Rank in Haryana police department.
  • K Global.
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award by the Maharashtra State Government.
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award from MTNL.
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award from Indian Railways (his employer) & out-of-turn promotion from his current position of Asst. Commercial Manager.
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award from Sports Authority of India, (Government of India).
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award from the Delhi Government
  • INR20 million (US$340,000) cash reward from the Delhi Government
  • INR15 million (US$260,000) cash reward from the Haryana Government
  • INR7.5 million (US$130,000) cash reward from the Indian Railway
  • Land area in Sonipat for Wrestling academy by the Haryana Government.
  • INR1 million (US$17,000) cash award from ONGC.

Ongoing case

Delhi Police arrested Sushil Kumar in connection with the murder of former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Dhankhar during a brawl in the Chhatrasal Stadium on 4 May 2021. After arresting Kumar, Delhi Police presented him in Rohini court and the court ordered a six-day remand of Kumar to Delhi police. In October 2021, a judge ordered Kumar continue to be held without bail. The decision was reached after arguments from both sides, and a review of evidence from the prosecution, including a video taken by an alleged accomplice of a man purported to be Kumar engaged in the attack.

See also

  • India at the 2008 Summer Olympics
  • Wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's freestyle 66 kg
  • Wrestling at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Men's freestyle 66 kg
  • Wrestling
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