A tough draw spiked my chances of winning a gold medal: Yogeshwar Dutt

Yogeshwar Dutt, the 60kg freestyle bronze medallist in the London Olympics, said he would focus on his fitness and take one step at a time, says a report in The Hindu. “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.”

Meanwhile according to a report in The Times Of India, Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt was felicitated by the Mittal Champions Trust (MCT) at a quiet function here on Wednesday. Dressed in white shirt and formal pants, Yogeshwar patiently greeted everyone with a smile even as his black right eye reminded everyone of his struggles before landing the medal.

One couldn't help but ask about the injured eye. "It (injury) happened during the second bout and flared up during later bouts. But, it's getting better," Yogeshwar, who had come with his mother and brothers, said.

The grand, noisy reception on his arrival at the airport on Monday midnight had clearly left the wrestler overwhelmed. "Whenever we return home with a medal, small or big, we always get a good reception. But, yesterday there was a lot of crowd, it felt good that people entered inside the airport and lifted me on their shoulders," the 29-year-old said.