Yogeshwar Dutt back with a golden bang

first_imgEncouraged by his winning return to the mat, Yogeshwar Dutt is targeting nothing less than gold at the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.Yogeshwar was out of action for a year and a half after winning bronze at the London Olympics, recovering from a knee injury. There were new challenges staring him and Sushil Kumar in the face as the weight categories and rules were changed. But they overcame the hurdles in style.Yogeshwar had to move to a 65 kg from 60kg while two-time Olympic medallist Sushil shifted to 74 kg category from 66kg. Last week at the Senior [FS & FW] Memorial Peelicone event in Sassari, Italy, Yogeshwar bagged gold while Sushil got silver.Yogeshwar admitted there were doubts when they entered the tournament. “We were facing competition after a long time. We were competing in new weight categories and under new rules. So there was pressure as we didn’t know how we will perform. But it turned out well for us,” Yogeshwar told MAIL TODAY. “We felt comfortable while competing in new weight categories. To be able to win gold in a quality field on return and under such circumstances has given me the belief that I will be able to fight in 65kg and win medals for India. In the semi-finals, I beat the 2013 world champion in 66kg from Armenia (David Safaryan). In the new weight category I will face wrestlers like him and it has given me confidence that I can beat the best in the world,” he said. The gritty wrestler said adapting to the rule changes was crucial. “The points system has changed and one has to use his mind and you can’t afford to relax. One has to attack and can’t defend for too long because one can lose points with a warning. Overall, it has been a good test for us.”advertisementLooking ahead to the Commonwealth Games (July 23-August 3, Glasgow) and Asian Games (Incheon, September 19-October 4), Yogeshwar said competing before the big events would be helpful. “Moving to a higher weight category is not an issue but generating power corresponding to the weight is important. I have to work in that area. There is enough time left for the London Olympics and I am confident that by then I will be in a better shape.” “We are looking to compete in another event in Germany before the CWG. Or else we will focus on practice and trials. The team may also go to Belarus for training but it is yet to be finalised. Since there is no Greco-Roman wrestling in CWG, it will affect the medal count of wrestling. We have to make sure we win the medals on offer in freestyle. Winning gold in both the CWG and the Asian Games is the aim.”In between the CWG and the Asian Games, there is the World Championships in Taskhent, but Yogeshwar is yet to take a call on that. “It will be difficult to fight in back-to-back events and if I see that maintaining weight will be difficult, I may skip the Worlds,” he added. Yogeshwar was all praise for the Olympic Gold Quest which he joined last month. “I was earlier with the Mittal Champions Trust and they were of big help when I was injured. The OGQ is also an organisation which has come forward to help Indian athletes to achieve their dreams. When you have such support, it takes care of a lot of things and you can freely concentrate on training.”last_img

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