A boy from a small village of Bhainswal Kalan, Sonipat district in Haryana started wrestling at the age of 8, deriving inspiration from Balraj Pehlwan who was from his native village with dream of winning an Olympic medal for his country. After failing twice in Athens and Beijing, the boy finally accomplished his mission in London by winning a bronze medal after successfully winning two repechage rounds and the bronze medal match.
Yogi started his wrestling alongside poster-boy from Beijing Sushil Kumar, and his first major achievement was winning the 2003 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in the 55kg category which he later changed to 60 kg and won the 2005 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship. Yogi had lost his father just nine days before he boarded the flight to Doha for the Asian Games. He also sustained a knee injury, but despite the entire emotional and physical trauma he managed to win the bronze in the 15th Asian games at Doha and seriously started working towards his childhood dream of an Olympic medal. He came really close to achieving that goal in Beijing before eventually losing to Japanese wrestler Kenichi Yumoto in the quarterfinal match, that too in the dying moments. That was a great setback for his confidence and his dream; he remained in shock for many days. But with the support of his family, friends and coaches he again started working towards achieving his goal of Olympics medal once again.
Yogi overcame a career-threatening knee injury to win the 60kg title at 2010 Commonwealth games in New Delhi and qualified for the London Olympics after winning a silver medal at the Asian qualification tournament in Kazakhstan where he lost to Iranian, Mahmoud Masoud Esmaeilpour Jouybari whom he eventually defeated in second repechage round taking his revenge. He had defeated North Korean Ri Jong-Myong in the bronze medal bout before loosing to four times world champion Russian B Kudukhov in pre-quarterfinal match. He is the only Indian wrestler to win two Asian championship gold medals.
Yogi’s bronze medal win is not a fairy tale. It is the result of constant hard work in the past 21 years, and the tough journey includes the painful loss of his dad, numerous career-threatening injuries and the painful quarterfinal loss in Beijing. All these hardships were the constant source of motivation which helped him in grabbing the bronze medal for his country and each and every Indian is proud of his achievements.