Grapplers ready to top Beijing show

In 2008, they had a bronze. At the London Games, they are looking to better the Beijing show.

The five-member Indian wrestling squad, led by 2008 bronze medallist Sushil Kumar, checked into the Games Village on Sunday. “We had a good training stint in Belarus and even got a chance to practice with the US and Belarus teams,” said Sushil, who is competing in his third Olympics. “Not only me, the others too can get medals.”

Like Sushil (66kg), Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg) is also competing in his third Olympics, while Amit Kumar (55kg), Narsingh Yadav (74kg) and Geeta Phogat (55kg) are making their Olympic debut.

“Our training is as per schedule and thankfully nobody has an injury. Sushil and Yogeshwar are the experienced wrestlers, and training with USA and Belarus, who are the powerhouses, have helped the likes of Amit and Geeta,” said chief coach Vinod Kumar.

The freestyle bouts start on Wednesday, and Geeta will be in action the next day. Amit and Narsingh’s bouts are on August 10, while Yogeshwar and Sushil will be going all out on August 11 and 12, respectively. “The last time I missed a medal by a whisker and it still hurts me. This time, I won’t let the opportunity go and will put in my best effort,” said Yogeshwar. 

Geeta, who became the first Indian woman wrestler to enter the Olympic arena, is also optimistic about her chances.

“At last year’s world championship, which was the first qualifier, I missed out by a narrow margin. At the Asian qualifiers, in which I made it to the Olympics, I beat a few top names. So, if we are talking about a medal, I am on the radar,” said Geeta.


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