Sushil Kumar claimed the right to represent India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games by winning the selection trials held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Friday. The victory was marred by an ugly clash that saw the brother of one of his opponents - Parveen Rana - beaten up, allegedly by some of Sushil's supporters.
Sushil won three bouts on the day, including a 7-3 win over Parveen Rana in the final bout. Despite the win, Rana's supporters including his brother, were accosted in the warm up hall of the venue. In the subsequent brawl, Rana's brother Naveen was assaulted and eventually hit with a plastic chair. Naveen would later allege that the attackers threatened to kill him and also prevent Parveen from participating in the Pro Wrestling League, set to take place in January.
Sushil though condemned the incident. "Even if it involved someone from my own family, what happened was wrong. There is no place for this in sports," Sushil told reporters.
- ANI (@ANI) 29 December 2017
The bout was the third between Sushil and Parveen since November. At the final of the 2017 Wrestling Nationals, Parveen had conceded a walkover in the final to Sushil, allowing the latter to win his first wrestling tournament since he claimed gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He would later claim he had conceded the match owing to an injury. The walkover was the third Sushil benefitted from on that day. However, Parveen had competed against Sushil at the 2017 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in South Africa, where he lost a close 5-4 decision.
It's very unfortunate and highly condemnable what has happened today at the stadium. I do not support anyone who gets violence in between sportsmanship. My aim is to fight & win for my Nation like a true sportsman & not to win against any group or individual #JaiHind 🇮🇳
- Sushil Kumar (@WrestlerSushil) 29 December 2017
The contest between Sushil and Parveen was a bad tempered one, with the double Olympic medalist claiming he was bitten on the hand. "...He bit me but no problem, it might be his tactics to stop me from performing well. All this is a part of sports," Sushil said after the bout.
In his first two contests, Sushil's opponents had appeared submissive. "You must have seen after the match, the two wrestlers touched my feet and I also put my hand on their head to bless them. The respect between the older and younger wrestlers was there," he would say later. Parveen though bucked the trend. At the end of his bout, he stalked off the mat without any gesture towards Sushil.
An official of the Wrestling Federation of India said they would institute and enquiry into the incident.