Looks like two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has finally made peace with the likelihood of not representing India at major wrestling events anymore. If sources are to be believed, the 33-year-old is eyeing a move to the United States to join the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
A report in the Hindustan Times suggested on Saturday that Sushil Kumar could soon be following in the Great Khali's footsteps by making the WWE his new home. The report said Sushil will be meeting WWE's head of talent development Canyon Ceman on Saturday, and the two will work out the finer aspects of a deal.
Talks are likely to be held between the two parties on Saturday, and the prospect of the franchise opening up the Chhatrasal Stadium, where Sushil trains, for training is likely to come up. Details of the contract are likely to emerge later, but it's expected to run into crores once the parties agree upon a deal.
"We are exploring all options for Sushil to get into professional wrestling and are in talks with WWE," said Raman Raheja, whose company Super Sports handles Sushil's commercial interests, according to the newspaper.
Sushil Kumar had won the bronze medal in 66-kg wrestling at the 2008 Olympics, followed by a silver four years later. But the category was abolished by the International Wrestling Federation (IWF) in 2014, following which he moved up to the 74-kg weight category, which brought him into competition with Narsingh Yadav, who was the top Indian wrestler in this class till then.
Sushil missed the qualification for Rio Olympics due to injury, and Narsingh Yadav secured the berth to represent the country. After repeatedly requesting the WFI to hold trials anew, Sushil Kumar moved court, which also ruled in favour of Narsingh Yadav.
The organisation has also accused Sushil of misusing public money during the training session in Georgia earlier this year. "He has misappropriated and misused the public money. The govt didn't send him to Georgia to stay away from the Indian camp and train with Georgian wrestlers," a counsel appearing for WFI was quoted as saying in a recent report.
The WWE has long been looking for an Indian wrestler to attract the large Indian-American population. The Great Khali was that man until 2014, but after he left, things haven't been the same.