Sushil Kumar’s exploits on the mat have pushed wrestling out of the rural ‘akharas’ across the country and into the common man’s consciousness. At the newly renovated Indira Gandhi Sports Complex—the venue for wrestling—Kumar will be the star attraction. He has already had a feel of the venue, winning a gold medal in the 66kg event at the 2010 Asian Wrestling Championships earlier this year at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.
Also See | Wrestling (pdf)
A sport that enjoys immense popularity across India, especially in rural areas, wrestling was first introduced in the Commonwealth Games as an optional sport restricted to men. Though it wasn’t a part of the 2006 event in Melbourne, it has featured at nearly every edition of the Commonwealth Games. Canada, India and Pakistan top the gold tally, having produced some of the finest grapplers among the Commonwealth nations. India took home three gold medals at the 2002 Manchester edition of the Commonwealth Games, with Palwinder Singh Cheema emerging as one of the conquistadors. This year’s squad headed by Sushil Kumar will find itself grappling with both their competitors and a nation’s expectations.