World and CWG champion, now expected to win an Olympic medal. How do you handle the pressure?
I try not to think about it. Today, the focus is on being India’s flag-bearer, which is more a matter of pride than pressure, since this is the first time a wrestler has been accorded the honour. Once the Games start, I’ll give every bout my best shot. My strength and stamina are my plus points, and training at a high-altitude camp in Colorado Springs, US, has helped me build on both. I was to go to Belarus before coming to London, but due to a delay in getting the visa,
I’ll now be going to train there after the opening ceremony.
What makes your third Olympics different?
I’m more experienced and confident this time, but otherwise, just as excited and proud to represent my country. I hope London is as lucky for me as Beijing. My only dream is to win gold for my country. In fact, every Indian wrestler stands a good chance of winning since we’ve all defeated big players to qualify. I hope we come back with more medals this time.
Will this be your last Olympics?
If my body supports me, I’d love another opportunity to represent India. Critics believe that after marriage, your focus has shifted from the sport?Not at all. My wife is very lucky for me. Savi understands what wrestling means to me and is very supportive.
Any big plans post the Olympics? TV shows, ads, maybe even a movie on your life?
Currently, my only aim is to perform brilliantly in the Olympics, I haven’t thought beyond that. Let the Games get over, then, if there are any offers, we’ll see. Movie? If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll give it a thought. But right now, I’m going for gold.