On this day – Sushil Kumar changes Indian wrestling forever with Beijing Olympics medal

Sushil Kumar, considered to be one of the best wrestlers from India, won his first medal on August 20 at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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On this day – Sushil Kumar changes Indian wrestling forever with Beijing Olympics medal
Sushil Kumar became the first Indian wrestler in Independent India to win two medals in the Olympics after securing bronze and silver in the 2008 Beijing Games and in the 2012 London event.


India’s record in the Summer Olympic Games is pretty ordinary ever since it’s inception in 1896. The country excelled in Hockey from 1928 to 1964 but in individual events, India struggled. KD Jadhav did create history when he won the first individual medal in Independent India when he secured the bronze in the Bantamweight wrestling division during the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. However, 56 years later, on August 20, 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, an individual from Baprola in Najaffgarh changed the fortunes of Indian wrestling forever with a stellar performance.

Sushil Kumar shared the proud moment on his official Twitter handle. In the video, he is seen wrestling for the bronze medal play-off and he wins which sets about a revolution in Indian wrestling. He captioned, “On this day 20th August 2008.. I won My first medal at Olympics .. My medal to glory.. Medal that completely changed the Indian wrestling as well as my life..#memories #beijingolympics #medaltoglory.”

The games were not so good for Sushil Kumar at the very beginning. Having lost to Andriy Stadnik in the first round of the 66kg freestyle event, all hopes on him rested on the repechage. His opponent reached the final and luckily, he got a chance to vie for the bronze medal. He defeated Doug Schwab in the first round and Albert Batyrov in the second. In the bronze medal match, he took on Kazakhstan’s Leonid Spiridonov. Trailing 0-1, Sushil Kumar put on an inspired display and managed to win the bout 3-1 to secure the bronze medal.

More accolades

After his great show in Beijing, Sushil Kumar won the gold medal in the World Championships in Moscow in 2010 while he also won gold in the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi. In the 2012 London Olympics, Sushil Kumar had a great chance to create history but in the final, he lost to Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu. Sushil Kumar then became one of the few athletes to win gold in three consecutive Commonwealth Games when he won in 2014 and 2018.

The exploits by Sushil Kumar paved the way for a whole new generation of wrestlers to show their mettle on the international stage. Wrestlers like Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat have gotten the confidence to show their class on the international stage, all thanks to that one day in August 20, 2008.

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