After K Jadhav's thrid place finish some fifty years ago, it was Sushil Kumar’s bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 that brought Indian wrestling on the world map. Wrestling has always been a very popular sport in India, but most of the sport remained confined to the rural areas and it was taken more as an exercise than an actual sport. But all that changed after the Beijing bronze.
KD Jadhav won India its first Olympic medal 12 the 1952 Helsinki Games and it took Indian wrestlers another 56 years to win their second medal. A lot has changed since the Beijing Games. Wrestling as a sport has grown in stature after that and hopes are very high from our wrestlers in the upcoming London Olympics.
This time as many as five wrestlers have qualified for the games and India is hoping at least two medals from their grapplers. The expectations are not vague as Indian wrestlers showed their metal winning 19 medals in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Sushil will once again be the biggest contender to win the medal for India. Sushil is confident of bettering his Beijing performance. He is the only wrestler to have ever won the World Championship and the tempo would be on his side as he qualified for the Olympics just in time with a gold medal performance at the qualifying event. So he would enter Olympics after winning a gold medal at an international tournament which would be of great help. And moreover his experience and hunger to excel would be of immense help to him in the Olympics.
The Beijing Games bronze medallist about his chances in London Olympics said, “I will go to win a medal in Olympics. I am quite confident right now and training hard. I have always given 100 percent and would do that in Olympics. I am optimistic of putting up a better show at London. The win in China has motivated me a lot. And also it is very good that I qualified for the Olympics late because now I have the momentum with me which definitely would help in performing well at the Olympics.”
Yogeshwar Dutt will compete in the men’s 66 kg freestyle category and he has a strong chance of winning a medal. He had a poor outing in the last Olympics and is desperate to bury it.
The youngest wrestler among the group is Amit Kumar who will be competing in men’s 55 kg freestyle category. He is going into the Olympics with good form behind his back as he won the gold medal at the Asian Qualifying tournament in Astana.
Narsingh Yadav won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. He has got the experience and will prove to be a stiff challenge in men’s 74 kg freestyle category.
Geeta Phogat is going to be the first Indian women to compete in the women’s wrestling at the Olympics. She will be representing India in the women’s 55kg freestyle category and has it in her to pull up some upsets.