The absence of any stage fright could well be the biggest weapon in the armoury of teenager Amit Kumar, the youngest grappler in the five-member India squad who is set to take a bow in the grandest sporting arena on Friday.
Kumar, 19, also the youngest competitor in the 55kg freestyle wrestling competition at the Olympics, kicks off India's big hopes on the mat today, along with Narsingh Yadav, who will be seen in action in the 74kg class.
"I don't know what the results are going to be. But I can guarantee one thing. I will give of my 100 percent," Amit declared with the assurance of a seasoned hand on Thursday as he gave final touches to his preparations in the Games Village. The wrestling team arrived in the British capital after a final stint in Belarus. "For quite some time, we have had tough training and the stint in Belarus was also very good. Now, the time has come to deliver," the wrestler, who hails from Sonepat in Haryana, added.
Raring to go
Amit clinched his Olympic quota on his senior international debut earlier this year when he won the Asian qualification event. His exposure is limited to just a couple of internationals. So, will that be a concern entering the competition at the highest level? “He is young and fearless, and has nothing to lose. He will go all out,” chief national coach Vinod Kumar said. “A lack of exposure is immaterial in Amit's case because he has been training with the likes of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.”
The Indian wrestlers also had a stint at a high-altitude base in the US. "We got the opportunity to train with the Olympic squads of other countries, including powerhouses USA and Belarus," the coach added.
The last lap
India’s London journey enters the home stretch. The focus now shifts to India’s last remaining medal hopes, wrestlers. Here are the four men who will carry a billion hopes...