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Yogeshwar Dutt aims to end his and India's campaign on a high: "Khench de meter chorre!"

Vishal Bhalla
ANALYST
828   //    21 Aug 2016, 12:39 IST
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Yogeshwar Dutt will look to add a golden touch to India’s Olympic campaign

A true champion; his walk, and stance as he approaches a match are confidence personified. The hard worker that he is, no one deserves a medal more than him, as he pursues his quest for one final glory to bow out from the game in style. Yogeshwar Dutt has experience on his side and he will try to out-muster his opponents with one of the many moves that he has in his arsenal.

Dutt, wearing either blue or the yellow-orange shade, will have other players who have finished their campaign and plenty of crowd support to pep him up for his gala event.

The golden comeback in London Olympics for the bronze

His bronze medal winning performance from London 2012 Olympics shows the grit that Dutt has as he fought 3 bouts in around 50 minutes, making a comeback through the repechage rounds, which has been India's happy hunting ground. The highlight of the run was the superb crocodile death role in the bronze medal match move by Yogi, as he is fondly known, that gave him 5 points in a row and the match.

Preparations for Rio 2016 Olympics

At 34 years of age, Yogeshwar employed the only possible way to qualify for Rio by grabbing a gold medal at the Asian Olympic qualifying meet in Astana, Kazakhstan in March 2016. This was after the doctors did not allow him to wrestle in the Las Vegas World Wrestling Championships in September 2015 as he had not recovered fully from an injury.

Dutt has had multiple surgeries on both his knees, especially in the last year. The poet in him wrote 2 lines as a WhatsApp status – "Shukr karo ki dard sahte hain, likhte nahin / Varna kaagazon pe lavzon ke janaaze uthte" (Be grateful that I endure the pain and not write, else these words would have to be taken to their funerals). Win or loss, Yogeshwar certainly knows how to express himself, and also how to convey the pain an athlete endures throughout his life to achieve his or her goals.

Dutt will be competing in Men's Wrestling (65kg) freestyle instead of the 60 kg weight category from London Olympics after wrestling's ruling body made changes to trim various divisions.

The wrestler has been battling not just his opponents, but injuries off the mat as well. However, his preparations have been top notch and it looks as though he is getting fitter by the day.

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He has grown in stature over the last one year or so and his unbeaten run at the Pro Wrestling League showed everyone how will and determination can triumph over any condition. He has a strict fitness regime to back his credentials, and it’s been working like a charm so far.

The fighter within

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Can Yogeshwar Dutt make the Indian flag fly high one last time?

He takes up issues bluntly, be it the appointment of a non-sportsperson and celebrity in Salman Khan by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or supporting Narsingh Yadav and many of his fellow athletes. A true patriot, he wears the flag on his sleeves and strives to make sure that it is never let down.

As seen in the poetry he penned when there were anti-India slogans raised or his one-liner tweets on current political affairs in the country, Yogeshwar always has an opinion – a hard one, like the wrestler in him – on every issue plaguing India.

Wrestling is tough as it involves direct contact throughout. There would be a lot of pressure on him today, but that is where he thrives – almost as if he is tailor-made for such situations. He says and I quote,

"The real pressure is on the mat, and on the mat when I go there, then there is nothing," he says. "I forget everything. There is pressure on me before the moment I step on the mat. When under pressure, I perform better."

Come today, we will witness that final fight, the final hurrah from this wrestling legend at Rio. As they say in local Haryanvi slang:

"Kheench de meter chorre!" (Draw the line boy!) ~ Over to Yogi and the wrestling arena for more!

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