(Title edited to reflect that he was an Olympic silver medalist and not gold medalist)
Sagar Rana, a 23-year old junior wrestling champion, was beaten to death with hockey sticks and baseball bats by a group of men at the Chhatrasal stadium in North-West Delhi last week. Police allege that the attackers were lead by Sushil Kumar, 37, an Olympic gold medallist and one of India’s most celebrated athletes.
According to The Print authorities believe that Kumar murdered Rana because Rana had been “badmouthing him in public” and “disrespecting him.” Police sources also told The Print that Kumar and Rana’s relationship had grown strained after Rana was unable to pay rent on a property owned by Kumar. Reportedly, Kumar then asked Rana to vacate the property. Rana initially refused, but eventually left.
Two of Rana’s friends were injured in the attack. which they say took place because Kumar wanted to teach Rana a lesson. Prince Dalal, another wrestler, was arrested on suspicion of being involved.
According to Indian Express police discovered video evidence of the assault on Dalal’s cell phone. Police have launched raids across Delhi, Uttarakhand and Haryana to find Kumar, but—as of yet—they have not been able to locate him.
Rana, who died of head injuries, was a junior national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling (-97 kg) who had been invited to join the senior Indian national team.
Kumar is the most decorated wrestler in Indian history and the only Indian athlete to ever win consecutive Olympic medals in an individual sport. He won a bronze medal in the -66kg Freestyle wrestling competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver at 2012 London Olympics. He carried the Indian flag at the the opening ceremonies for the 2012 games.
Kumar also won gold at the World Championships in 2010 and gold at the Commonwealth games in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
Kumar is a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Kel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour.