Masseur had no time for Sushil before Bronze medal match

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Beijing, Aug 21 (UNI) Adversity brought out the best from a weary Sushil Kumar who not only grappled with four opponents but also overcame the absence of a masseur to win India's second medal in the Olympics here.

''We did not have a dedicated masseur. I asked a masseur 'Do you have time to attend me?' and he said 'no','' Sushil told mediapersons today.

''So team manager Kartar Singh had to do the job. We did not have any idea about the doctors either, who had been attached with the contingent,'' he said.

The Indian lost his first round against Andriy Stadnik in the morning session but with the Ukrainian managing to reach the final, the repechage door opened for him.

The Indian Railway man then played three bouts in one hour to win the bronze medal. In the first repechage round at 1600 hours local time yesterday, he edged out American Doug Schwab and had his next bout lined up against Belarussian Albert Batyrov precisely at 1620 hours.

Once Sushil cleared that hurdle too, he was to play losing semifinalist Leonid Spiridinov at 1710 hrs and all along he did not have a masseur to do the rubbing and massaging.

''Going into my fourth bout of the day, I was really tired and there was hardly any time to relax in between. I badly needed the rubbing and massaging,'' he said.

The wrestler said technically there was not much to choose between an Indian grappler and his foreign counterparts but facilities made all the difference.

''Gold medal is not an absurd dream. We have a talent pool deep enough and all you need is infrastructure,'' he said.

Asked how he celebrated his bronze medal-winning feat, he said, ''I just eat food. Before a bout, we generally go on a fast to ensure we are not overweight. Even if you drink a glass of water, it becomes a reason for panic.

''Once my bout was over, I had enough food. I'm a vegetarian and I ate mostly fruits,'' he said.

The medal winner admitted that he occasionally grapples in 'akhara' for easy money, even though with cash awards flowing from all quarters and a promotion promised, he may not need to do it again.

''I'm not sure (about the promised awards). Once I reach home I would have a better idea,'' the new prince of Najafgarh said.

Asked about the other celebrity sportsperson from Najafgarh, Sushil said he once met Virender Sehwag, ''It was in some function that both of us were felicitated together. That was it,'' he added.

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