India first, everything else second: Yogeshwar Dutt
London Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt has come out in support of India pulling out from sporting events involving Pakistan. The 33-year old wrestler has also pledged that he will not fight a single bout himself against any grappler from the country, until the situation is resolved. This comes in the after math of an attack against the Indian Army in Baramulla.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, he said, “For me personally, nothing comes ahead of the country. My sole reason to become a wrestler was to win a medal for my country. India comes ahead of every other aspect. If a country attacks India killing our actual heroes, the Indian Army, I will not fight against wrestlers from that country. Until our relationship with them is resolved, I will not fight against any wrestler from the country.”
Complimenting the Indian Army’s efforts at the Line of Control (LoC), he added, “I do not have words to describe what they do. The Army does and has been doing things, which we only talk about on social media. They do it every day, not asking anything for return, but our safety. Their discipline, courage and exemplary ability to protect the country from repeated attacks should be respected.”
Yogeshwar is currently in Sonepat training, but has assured that he will not participate in any events involving Pakistan, regardless of Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) official stance on the matter. He added, “I repeat the Indian Army is the sole reason me and my family sleep in peace at night. If you think I was ever a hero for winning an Olympic medal, I’m only being able to do it because they guarantee my safety. They are bigger heroes, who deserve to be taking overall calls on matters of cross border national security. Let us all respect that decision.”
Last month, the Haryana-based wrestler had also created headlines, when he refused to accept a potential Olympic silver, after his deceased friend allegedly tested positive for banned substances. It remains to be seen whether the association releases an official statement, similar to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), who pulled out of a tournament in Pakistan this month.
Even the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) has requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to group them together in tournaments.