The wrestler is, however, unsure about participating in the 2016 Games
After achieving his dream of winning an Olympic medal, Yogeshwar Dutt is a content man. The 29-year-old wrestler wants to attain greater heights, but is aware that he is not getting any younger.
Yogeshwar, the 60kg freestyle bronze medallist in the London Olympics, said he would focus on his fitness and take one step at a time. “I am 29 and I cannot say whether I can participate in the 2016 Games. If I participate in 2014 (Asian Games), then I can try for a medal in 2016,” said Yogeshwar at a felicitation function organised by the Mittal Champions Trust (MCT) here on Wednesday.
After going through a hectic period of four years, during which fought with career-threatening injuries and the frustration of not earning a podium finish at the Olympics, Yogeshwar recounted his days of toil.
“I had lots of injury problems. The MCT helped me when I needed it the most. My career would have been over without their help. I had assured them of an Olympic medal (in return),” said Yogeshwar.
He said, in the Olympics, a tough draw spiked his chances of winning a gold medal. “I was aiming for the gold medal. My half of the draw was really tough with several top performers. If I was in the upper half (of the draw), I would have got a bye and some easier bouts (on the way to the final),” said Yogeshwar while talking about his pre-quarterfinal loss to four-time world champion Russian Besik Kudukhov, who eventually bagged the silver.
“I was confident that the Russian would reach the final (and I would get a second chance for a medal). Our countrymen were praying for it and God helped me.”
In the last bout for the bronze, Yogeshwar had rolled Jong Myong Ri by clutching North Korean’s legs tightly. He enjoyed talking about the move. “I have done it from my childhood. In the Commonwealth Games, I had done it against my Canadian opponent. It helps me cover a lot of points.”
Yogeshwar said he was not craving for any award or endorsements. “I had performed for an Olympic medal. The hunger of it has been satiated.”
Manisha Malhotra, Coordinator, MCT, was happy that her company’s faith in Yogeshwar’s “desire and talent” paid off. “After his surgery, I have seen him work harder than ever. He was alone in South Africa for eight months and he went on to become stronger. He has come a long way to achieve the Olympic medal,” said Manisha.
MCT’s Ramadhar Yadav, who closely tracked Yogeshwar’s progress, gave instances of how the Sonepat wrestler went through problems like training in a riot affected Russian city, being vainly detained by the police in Moscow and train alone in Georgia, to win an Olympic medal.
MCT handed Yogeshwar a special Olympic edition Omega watch and promised to give another Rs. 31 lakh for his accomplishment.