India's top wrestler upset over lack of physio

One of India's top medal prospects and team flag-bearer at the London Olympics, wrestler Sushil Kumar, is unhappy with arrangements after being left without a personal physio, officials said Friday.

Kumar, a bronze-medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is upset that the Indian wrestling squad is without a dedicated physiotherapist despite the prospect of multiple, bone-jarring bouts on the same day.

He has even offered to pay from his own pocket for the expenses of national wrestling physio Arvinderpal Singh, who has been working with the team for the past two years but has not been accredited for London.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary-general Raj Singh said his organisation was trying its best to secure the trainer a place at the competition venues.

"We are trying to get the physio and we are also trying to get a visa for him," he told AFP.

India's chief wrestling coach Vinod Kumar added that they planned to meet with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to discuss the problem.

"Sushil wants his own physio and our officials will meet with IOA and hopefully the issue will be resolved," said Kumar.

Kumar's complaints come after sports officials expressed shock last month at the Olympic training camp for the wrestlers at Sonepat, 45 kilometres (30 miles) north of New Delhi.

One inspector went public with the findings, saying rotten fruit had been found in an unhygienic kitchen being used to prepare food for the team.

India has a dismal record at the Olympics. Its team won just one gold and two bronze medals at the Beijing Games and the country's sports administrators are regularly accused of incompetence.

The country will send a 142-member contingent to the London Games, including 81 athletes.

Indian shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, boxers Mary Kom and Vijender Singh, badminton star Saina Nehwal and tennis players Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza are the other serious gold medal contenders.

Kumar, speaking to the Hindustan Times newspaper, said that a physio was "an important part of the support system in our game."

"The extremely competitive nature of our sport and the fact that we have to fight four to six bouts in a day makes it imperative that we have a full-time physio. Without him, we can never be at our best," he added.

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