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Inside Tihar, wrestler Sushil Kumar gives ‘fitness tips’ to Umar Khalid & other inmates

Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar — in prison for allegedly killing a 23-year-old after a brawl at Chhatrasal wrestling academy last May — 'offers tips but isn't training anyone'.

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New Delhi: Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on a murder charge, is giving tips on bodybuilding and fitness to other inmates, including JNU scholar Umar Khalid, ThePrint has learnt.

Khalid who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2020 in connection with the northeast Delhi riots that happened earlier that year — is in the same ward as Kumar, a source in the jail said.

There are several jails in Tihar, and within these jails are different wards that comprise of cells for the prisoners.

Kumar is lodged in jail number 2. He is accused of killing Sagar Dhankar, a 23-year-old junior wrestler, after a brawl at the Chhatrasal wrestling academy on 4 May last year. Dhankar was allegedly beaten with hockey sticks, baseball bats and batons, leading to his death, following which Kumar absconded and was on the run for over three weeks.

According to a source in Tihar, Kumar’s daily exercise routine of over two hours which includes push-ups, sit-ups, planks and jogging on the spot inside his cell, got “many people interested in bodybuilding and fitness, just watching him work out”. 

Many inmates, the sources said, then started asking him for “tips on bodybuilding”.

“While he mostly exercises inside his cell, sometimes he also does it outside when the cells are opened and inmates can step out, between 6 am and 12 noon. He wakes up early and follows a strict exercise routine. He has not been given any equipment, and uses his own body weight to work out,” the source told ThePrint.

Tihar inmates get a few hours out of their respective cells between 6 am and 12 noon, and then 3 pm and 6.30 pm, each day. This is the time when they can speak to others in their ward and move around.

ThePrint contacted Khalid’s counsel, senior advocate Trideep Pais, by phone for a comment on this report but there was no response.

Also Read: Mud, medals, money, even murder – Inside India’s secretive akhadas, beyond Sushil Kumar

‘Inmates ask him about grip locks, building muscle, losing weight’

Asked if Kumar is training any of the inmates in bodybuilding, the source said, “not as of now”.

“He is not giving training to anyone in bodybuilding, but he has certainly got people interested in fitness. When inmates come out of their cells for those fixed hours, they talk to each other. Since Kumar is a wrestler, people are interested to know about his fitness, some tips on bodybuilding, which he is very happy to share,” the source said.

“The inmates ask him to suggest what exercises are good for them to build muscle. Some ask about losing weight or even techniques like grip locks, pins, throws and takedowns,” the source added.

The source further said that although Kumar gives his fellow inmates tips on what a wrestler’s diet should include to gain muscle, he is not being given any special diet.

“He is being given normal food, which is nutritious. He has not demanded any special food,” the source added.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Tihar prisoner was granted furlough for 3 weeks in 2011. A decade later, he is yet to surrender


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