Luck of the draw is something that sportspersons have to get used to sooner rather than later, a fact that Yogeshwar Dutt knows all too well. Still, having realised his long-standing dream of winning a medal at the Olympics, Dutt could not help but wonder about what might have been, had fortune favoured him just a bit more.
At a felicitation ceremony here on Wednesday, Dutt insisted that his confidence of not returning home empty-handed did not subside even when the draw put him in the same half of the bracket as three of the four medal winners from last year's World Championships. "Of course, it would have been slightly easier had I got a bye," said Dutt, who had narrowly missed out in Beijing four years ago. "But even after I got a difficult draw, I was confident of winning a medal."
Having sustained an injury to his right eye during his quarterfinal loss to Besik Kudukhov, the defending world champion from Russia, was there, perhaps, a moment of doubt?
"No, not really. Mujhe 100% umeed thi ki Russian final khelega kyunki who tagda pehelwaan hai (I was sure that the Russian would make it to the final as he's a very tough wrestler)," recalled Dutt.
"And in any case, the whole of India was praying that he (Kudukhov) progresses to the final."
With his London dream having come true four days ago, there is no stopping the flow of riches, in cash as well as in kind. But reaping the rewards of his triumph is the last thing on Dutt's mind.
Having won bronze in 60kg freestyle, the Sonepat-based wrestler wants to concentrate on 2014 (Asian Games) rather than think about honours and endorsements.
"Dil mein jo bhook thi padak jeetne ki, woh ab poori hui hai (my thirst for an Olympic medal has just been quenched)," said Dutt. "Now, whether the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or Padmashri or some other honour is bestowed upon me is immaterial."
Not looking too far into the future, Dutt, already 29, wants to see if his body can withstand the rigours of his trade before taking a call on Rio 2016. "By then, I'll be 33, so I first need to see if I can compete in 2014 (in the Asian and Commonwealth Games)," said Dutt. "If all goes well, I'm going to try and improve my finish at the next Games."