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When sportsmen go under spotlight

What happens when sportsmen go under the spotlight? Sushil Kumar, P Kashyap and Akhil Kumar give an insight.


July 12, 2015 12:12:52 am
isl, football, isl 2015, sushil kumar, p kashyap, kashyap, sushil kumar india, rio 2016, olympics, akhil kumar, wrestling, boxing, badminton, 2016 olympics, rio olympics, sports news, boxing news Sushil Kumar is a double-Olympic medalist for India.

Sushil Kumar, Wrestler

In 2013, India’s double Olympic medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar found himself on the cover of a popular entertainment magazine. Titled “Men of the Year 2012”, he shared the cover with Ajay Devgn, Anurag Kashyap, Rohit Bal and Mohandas Pai.

It’s been a while but remind Sushil of the shoot and he rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Bahut hi ajeeb tha… Ek alag hi duniya hain woh,” he says. Then why do it in the first place? “I was reluctant. But my guru Satpalji asked me to do it as it would help promote wrestling.” Interestingly, this wasn’t his first brush with spotlight. Just after his Olympic medal in 2008, he shot a commercial for NECC (National Egg Co-ordination Committee).

“The first day of the shoot was a harrowing experience. Ek minute ke liye mujhe laga ki yaar main kahan phas gaya hoon.” Being a vegetarian, who had never consumed eggs, added to his awkwardness.

(Vishal Menon)

P Kashyap, Shuttler

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You could be from a well heeled family, and still go weak-kneed and open-mouthed about fashion’s most famous red heels. Parupalli Kashyap, in red-hot form after beating badminton’s World No. 1 Chen Long, chuckled about how he cagily slipped his feet into a pair of Christian Louboutins for a magazine’s photo-shoot recently. The French designer is distinctively known for his signature red soled shoes, but the name didn’t roll easy on Kashyap’s tongue as he recalled the session where he was prepped to face the cameras.

“The clothes I was wearing! – suddenly my value had increased by 5 lakh!” he laughs, adding that in the whirl of the shoot he recalls the stylists and other busybodies around him staring deeply worried at those high-priced footwear which would cost a fortune but were rented for the day so that India’s most-recognised male singles shuttler could pull off the cool cat look.

(Shivani Naik)

Akhil Kumar, Boxer

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Unlike most sportspersons, Akhil Kumar wasn’t nervous before his photo shoot. “Not many know that I was a member of my school’s drama group and we won prizes at district and state level. So I had some experience of acting,” says the boxer recalling his first brush with lights, camera and action after his gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Ahkil, not the kind to get intimidated by spotlight, had even objected to those who were touching up his face. “I was fine when they asked me to wear flashy shoes. But when they tried to hide the cuts on my face with make-up I told them ‘Mukkebaaz hain, chehre pe toh cuts and nishan honge hi’.”

Back in 2006, it was a new thing for us, remembers Akhil who would also pass on tips to Jitender, a fellow boxer at the Beijing Olympics, on how to face the camera. These days, though, he faces the camera only when his daughter insists on taking a selfie with her.

(Nitin Sharma)

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