After 2 emphatic displays of wrestling in the earlier rounds, Yogeshwar Dutt moved into the Bronze medal match high on confidence. His opponent would be Jong Myong Ri of the Democratic Republic of Korea. At 29, Dutt was taking part in his third and probably last Olympics, so this bout was easily the biggest of his career. Victory would land him and India a much-wanted medal, so the pressure must have been on his shoulders. But you wouldn’t have guessed it from his walk to the ring. Confidence and poise personified, Dutt wearing red, stepped up to loud cheers from the crowd.
The first minute was nothing much to ride home about, as both wrestlers tried to gauge the other and not waste energy. A brilliant move by the Indian gave him the overhook, but Jong Ri countered with an armgrab. The referee ruled neither had total control over the other and no points were awarded.
However at the fag end of the first round, Yogeshwar got into a tough position and Jong Ri took full advantage of it and pushed the Indian to the edge of the safe zone. Despite his valiant efforts, Dutt couldn’t stop the Korean taking the point and the round.
The Korean had a minute height advantage, but the stockier Dutt was making him run around the ring. After a few seconds of frantic grappling, Dutt finally managed to tip over the Korean and open his account in the match.
20 seconds to go and Dutt went for the kill, but the Korean used his bigger frame to hold steady. The referee blew for the end of the second round and it was even-stevens on aggregate.
Whatever his coach had to say before the round seemed to have done the trick as Dutt seemed to be the more energetic of the duo. Yogeshwar was the one taking all the initiatives. After getting a good grip on the Korean, a stunning crocodile death role gave him 5 points in a row and that was it ! The Korean had no answer to this ingenious technique from the Indian, and it was a comprehensive win. A 5-0 whitewash in the last round, unprecedented !
If you missed the match, make sure you catch the highlights of the match-winning move. The Korean was totally caught off-guard and Dutt twisted and turned his body, rendering the Korean helpless.
No-one gave him a chance after losing against Besik Kundohov in the pre-quarters. But he fought back in all of the matches since, and it would be a folly to to underestimate this wrestler. Yogeshwar Dutt played and won 3 matches in 70 minutes. If that isn’t a superhuman feat, I don’t know what is.
What a match ! What an athlete! Yogeshwar Dutt, you have written your name in the annals of Indian Olympic history, and for that we salute you. Words cannot convey how proud we are of you. Stunning, absolutely stunning.