Award Name : Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Year of Award : 2009
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Najafgarh, NCT, India
Sushil Kumar Solanki is an Indian freestyle wrestler. In 2012 Olympics he won Silver Medal in 66 kg men's freestyle wrestling category. He also had bagged gold medal in 2010 FILA World Wrestling Championships and bronze medal in 66 kg Freestyle Wrestling event in 2008 Olympics. He was honored to be the flag bearer of India in the London Olympics opening ceremony held on 27th July 2012. Sushil Kumar was born on 26 May 1983, in Baprola village, located in the outskirts of New Delhi, to Diwan Singh and his wife Kamla Devi. His father was employed as a bus driver at the Delhi Transport Corporation and used to be a wrestling enthusiast in his own right. Kumar’s cousin Sandeep was a wrestler as well and it was from his cousin that he was inspired to pick up wrestling. His father helped him as well. When he was 14 years old, Kumar started training as a wrestler at the ‘akhada’ or wrestling academy located in Chhatrasal Stadium in New Delhi. One of his trainers was the famous wrestler Satpal. Sushil Kumar started competing in the junior levels and in 1998 he won his first tournament when he emerged as the gold medal winner at the World Cadet Games. Two years later, he went on to win the gold medal yet again at the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship to emerge as one of the most promising young wrestling talents in the country.
He was shot into limelight when he won the gold medal in the World Cadet Games in 1998. He went on to win his next gold in the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship in 2000. He won the bronze medal at Asian Wrestling Championships in 2003 and gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships. However, his poor performance in the 2004 Athens Olympics gave him a bad name and the media started ignoring him. On 20th August 2008, he got a bronze medal in Beijing Olympics defeating Spiridonov. He fared well at the FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships and got the honor of being the first Indian to win the gold medal on 12th September 2010. His success continued in 2010 Commonwealth Games held at Delhi and he bagged gold on 10th October 2010. He was given Arjuna Award in 2005, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2008 and Padma Shri Award in 2011 by the Government of India. Apart from them, he also received many cash awards and promotion in his employment when he won bronze medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics.