Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has opted out of the National Wrestling Championships on Friday owing to fitness concerns.
Sushil, who bagged a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and a silver at the London 2012 Olympics, was hoping to be fit enough and get some competitive action under his belt in a bid to stake a claim for a Tokyo Olympics spot.
The veteran wrestler was also not a part of the 64th Senior National Wrestling Championship in 2019.
“I am not fit so that’s why I have decided to pull out of the tournament,” Sushil told The Tribune.
“Ideally, I would need a month and a half of training to be able to take part but since I am not there yet, there is no point in just participating,” he added.
Sushil pulling out of the National Championship will also mean that his much-anticipated 74kg weight category clash against Narsingh Yadav will not take place.
The Padma Shri award winner had dismissed retirement rumours earlier this year in a chat with Olympic Channel.
“My primary focus is on qualifying for the Olympics and only then will I plan about other things,” he had said.
The 37-year-old's last major appearance came at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast where he bagged a gold medal in the 74kg freestyle wrestling category.
Premier wrestler and Tokyo Olympics medal contender Bajrang Punia, currently training in Michigan, USA, is also set to give the nationals a miss.
Vinesh Phogat will also miss the nationals as she will be training in Hungary and Poland. Her 40-day training camp was approved by the Sports Ministry on Friday.
The men’s freestyle event of the nationals will be held in Noida from January 23 while the Greco Roman event will be held only in February in Punjab. Meanwhile, the women’s nationals will be held in Agra on January 30-31.