HSB / PUNE
Only individual double Olympic medallist, wrestler Sushil Kumar is convinced that initiatives like the Khelo India Youth Games have the potential to unearth and create medal winners on the international stage for the country.
“Such events will give our young athletes the feeling and exposure of international events. This can only help India find and mould talent that can shine at the top level.” said Sushil who is in Pune for the opening ceremony of KIYG
“Games like these create the atmosphere we find at top international events, and to get that opportunity at their age and at home itself is a great opportunity for the young athletes.
“India will reap the benefits of providing such opportunities and facilities in the future, that is for sure.”
Asked if achievers like himself were an inspiration for the next generation, Sushil downplayed his image as a role model. “We all learnt from our seniors and I can only hope the young people here will do the same. We are all here to do our best for the country and that is the greatest lesson one can share with future generations.”
Sushil, who won bronze at the Beijing Games and went one better at London four years later with the silver, preferred not to talk of favourites for the Games, even though his home state Haryana topped the medal tally at last year’s Khelo India School Games. “My wishes are for each and every participant here
“If India can spot talent here and groom that for the future from these Games, no matter from which state, it will benefit the country. I always find it inspiring while visiting junior events that there is so much talent looking for success and recognition.”
On his immediate plans, Sushil said he was fit and was waiting to decide on his competition schedule once the international programme became clear.