It is not cricket but wrestling that has made headlines after Indian veteran wrestler Sushil Kumar revealed that he was offered a huge amount of money to lose the 2010 world championship title bout in Moscow.
The 30-year-old, two-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler and former world champion made the shocking revelation to The Times of India (TOI) on Thursday, at a time when the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) is campaigning to save the sport after the International Olympic Committee announced its plan to exclude it from the 2020 Olympics.
"A member of my entourage came up to me and said, 'Sushil, kushti ki liye keh rahe hai (They want to talk about the bout)'. When he explained the whole thing, I was aghast," Sushil Kumar told TOI.
"The money offered was around a good few crores. For a wrestler, it was really good money. The offer was communicated to one of our foreign coaches. The event was taking place in Russia and my final opponent was a Russian. It's our country so our player should win - that's what they seemed to want."
He went on to say that it was not a matter of money when he turned down the offer. "'I said, 'It's very strange. Here, we are on the threshold of getting the winning belt home to India, and I'm supposed to tank the final?'"
He went on to defeat Alan Gogayev of Russia 3-1 in the 66kg-category final to claim the 2010 FILA Wrestling World Championships title.
Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver in 2012 London Games besides the gold in the world championships, deserves praise for putting the country first before money. Unlike some sportsperson, who fell prey to money, the country's pride is more important for him which is commendable.
However, some may ask what took him so long to reveal the alleged bribery after keeping silent all these years.
Sushil neither reported the matter to FILA nor to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which would have taken necessary action. WFI secretary-general Raj Singh said the Indian wrestler didn't report the cash offer to them.
It will be three years next month (Setpember) since the incident took place, leaving very little scope for investigation. Reporting the matter to FILA when it was hot may have helped authorities become aware about such mal-practices.