India can get two or three medals from the sport says the seasoned grappler
Yogeshwar Dutt lost in the quarterfinals and finished ninth in freestyle wrestling 60 kg category at Beijing. It was an improvement from the 18th place he had reached in Athens in the 55 kg section.
More than giving himself the credit for seeing through tough phases in life when he had to endure two knee surgeries and a problematic back, to bounce back as a realistic contender for a medal on the Olympic mat, the 29-year-old Yogeshwar said that it was Sushil Kumar’s bronze medal in the last Olympics that had provided the magic touch to Indian wrestling.
“Sushil and me are friends for a long time. Even when I went through the bad phase because of injury, he always told me not to worry and that I would get back”, said Yogeshwar, asserting that Sushil had not changed a bit despite becoming a world champion.
“I want a medal in the Olympics. The chances are looking good”, said Yogeshwar during a recent chat, quickly pointing out that he had beaten two-time world and Asian Games champion, Dilshod Mansurov of Uzbekistan, on way to qualification.
Yogeshwar stressed that the current crop of Indian wrestlers were on par with the rest of the sportspersons.
“When we went to the Athens Olympics, nobody asked us what we could do. Before the last Olympics, we used to carry video camera to capture bouts. Now everyone uses his laptop computer to watch the bouts of the wrestlers. If you know the name of your opponent you can search him out on the internet, no matter where he stays in the world”, he said.
Quite grateful to Mittal Champions Trust for helping him recover from the injuries which at one stage meant a six-month stay in South Africa, Yogeshwar also expressed his admiration for the concerted effort by the government to promote Olympic sport.
“Earlier we used to have only the world championship and the Asian championship. Now we get five or six competitions in a season. That has helped us improve and gain confidence. We have also been winning medals at the international level, and that has strengthened our belief that we belong to world standard”, said Yogeshwar.