The lone Indian to represent the country in Judo, Avtar Singh, had to endure a long and trying journey to get to Rio, but his stay there was unfortunately cut short by Popole Misenga of the Olympics Refugee team in the Elimination Round of 32.
Avtar who had qualified for the Olympics games by virture of his exploits in the South Asian Games in 2016 where he picked up the gold medal, before finishing 5th in the Asian Judo Championships held in Uzbekistan.
While the story of how his parents cashed in their 21-year long fixed deposit in order to pay for his tickets to the Judo Grand Prix in Turkey is folklore, his strong showing in 2016 duly paid dividends when his rankings was elevated from 200-odd into 79.
However, it was not the fairytale ending that we had all hoped for as Avtar was penalised twice for not engaging, en route to being shoulder thrown by Misenga and losing the bout. The Olympic Refugee team member would march on to the round of 16 now, as Avtar returns richer for the experience at competing at the highest level.
Despite not progressing further, Avtar did the country proud with his tenacity in getting himself over the innumerable odds that presented themselves to him even qualifying for the Rio Olympics.Published 10 Aug 2016, 21:28 IST