Ace wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt wants to bring the curtains down on his Olympic career by winning the gold medal at the upcoming Rio Games, and says he is not leaving any stone unturned in his endeavour to make his final outing an “unforgettable” experience.
Appearing in his last Games, the London Olympics bronze medallist will be competing in men’s 65kg freestyle category at Rio de Janeiro.
“This is my fourth and last Olympics so I am toiling very hard to come back with a gold medal,” Yogeshwar said at the sidelines of the launch of Olympians Association of India.
The 33-year-old wrestler from Gohana, Haryana, is aware of the expectations from him.
The Indian contingent for the Rio Games met the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Monday and received good wishes from him.
On the meeting with the PM before the sporting extravaganza in August, Yogeshwar said, “The meeting with Prime Minister was great, something like this has never happened, so it’s a great encouragement for all of us.”
At the function held at the Manekshaw Centre, PM Modi interacted individually with the sportspersons and wished them luck for the August 5-21 Games.
Asked about the long-drawn dispute between double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Rio aspirant Narsingh Yadav over Rio qualification in 74kg, Yogeshwar said it is “all about the country” even though it acted as a distraction.
About his preparations, he said, “I am training for five to six hours a day including gym session. I want to make Rio an unforgettable experience.”
The Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist added, “I have had five operations so far, still I gave my best as far as preparations are concerned.
“Pressure is there on all of us as the expectations are high, but we have to cope with it and be able to do well under pressure.”
Asked if he will retire after Rio, he did not rule out the possibility of continuing till at least 2018.
“It depends on my fitness, if I am fit I will be competing till 2018.”
He said he has “plans to open an wrestling academy near my village” in Haryana after retirement from the sport.
Meanwhile, World championship silver medallist and Asian Games gold winner Jitu Rai said he has found his way back after losing it for a while.
“It was very important to win a medal in last World Cup. As far as certain things are concerned, I had lost my way a bit, but I have found it back with this medal,” the unassuming pistol shooter said.
Jitu clinched the silver in air pistol at the last World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, before the Olympics.
He added, “There is a lot of focus on mental training and physical as well. Pressure is there on me but the key is how to handle pressure.”
World Championships bronze medallist shuttler PV Sindhu said, “Very excited to be going to my first Olympics though I know the responsibility that comes with it. But there is no point taking extra stress.”
London Olympics bronze medallist and five-time world champion MC Mary Kom, who failed to qualify for the upcoming Games, said, “I especially came for this event to support the athletes. Very less number of boxers this time (only three amateur boxers have qualified for Rio) but we will support them wholeheartedly.”
Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla said he was confident that the Indian men and women’s 4×400 relay teams would reach the finals in the track and field events at Rio de Janeiro.
“I tell you we will be in the finals of both men and women’s 4x400m relay,” said Sumariwalla.
He emphasised on the need to hit form at the right time.
“We need to pick over a month from now. We need to peak on August 19th and August 19th is the relay final. If we peak today we can’t do anything.”
About Nirmala Sheoran, he said, “If she has qualified then she will go.”
Asked about Seema Poonia and funds for her training, Sumariwalla said, “She has been a very consistent performer for us. She was the first to be sanctioned Rs 75 lakh for her training.”
When asked about dope testing, he said, “That is the job of NADA and WADA as the athletes are under their watch. The athletics federation has no role in it.
“People like (M R) Poovamma and our quartermilers have been tested 10 times so far, so I think they should be fine.”
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