Avtar Singh buoyant over Olympics qualification

Updated - September 18, 2016 01:05 pm IST

Published - June 01, 2016 01:42 am IST - Chennai:

Avtar Singh, who has become the first Indian judoka to qualify for the Olympics since 2004, is not nervous about doing well on the biggest stage of sports.

“I didn’t expect this (qualifying for Olympics). It doesn’t matter if I win or lose. I know I train hard and I give my 100 per cent. I have promised to do well for my country and I just want to give my best,” he said while speaking to The Hindu .

On Monday, the International Judo Federation (IJF) had communicated Avtar’s qualification to the Judo Federation of India (JFI). He is one of the two Asian judokas in the 90 kg category to bag a continental quota for the Rio Games.

Avtar was not merely being modest when he said “I didn’t expect this.” Since 2015, he has participated in only six international events. He lacked support, financially and organisationally.

His parents cashed their fixed-deposits to book Avtar’s tickets to the Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey in April. “It was so much difficult (to qualify for the Olympics). Sometimes, the Federation (JFI) supports me and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Avtar, an assistant sub-inspector with the Punjab Police.

Apart from his parents, those who supported Avtar were JSW Sports, colleagues, coach Yashpal Solanki and some local coaches in his hometown, Gurdaspur, where judo is very popular.

Avtar wants to emulate his role model, the legendary Milkha Singh, in making his country proud. Time will tell if he will.

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