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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Other Sport

Indian grapplers look to get a grip on Rio glory
Saurabh Duggal, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 12, 2013
First Published: 22:52 IST(12/2/2013)
Last Updated: 22:54 IST(12/2/2013)

The Indian wrestling community might have been jolted by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to drop the discipline from the 2020 Olympic programme, but it has also made them more determined to give a far better performance at the 2016 Rio Games.

"The development is really disheartening. But, at the same time, we can't afford to lose our focus. Wrestling is a medal sport in the 2016 Games and we have to make our country proud again," said double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar on Tuesday.

"At the Beijing Olympic Games, my aim was to win a medal and I succeed. For London, my target was gold, but I could only manage a silver. So, I am determined to make up for the London loss in Rio. If all goes well and I remain injury-free, I will go for gold," he added.

Geeta's quest
Geeta Phogat, who created the history by becoming the first Indian woman to qualify for the London Games, too is aiming to create golden history at Rio.

"Today's decision has disturbed us, but at the same time, we cannot forget that wrestling is there in the Olympics till 2016," said Geeta, who along with her sister, Babita, won a bronze medal each at the World championship last year immediately after the Olympics.

"My father put us into wrestling with the sole aim that we would win a gold in the Olympics. In London, I failed to realise his dream, but I will not let him down in in Rio," added Geeta, who is currently in the national camp.

"Indian men have won four medals in wrestling, but the women are yet to open their account. Hopefully, we will do it in Rio. And, given that wrestling might not be a part of the 2020 Games, we will put in our best effort in 2016" said national wrestling coach OP Yadav.

Wrestling Federation of India secretary-general, Raj Singh, is optimistic that wrestling will make it to the final Olympic programme for 2020 when the IOC executive committee convenes in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September.

"As far as India's interest is considered, the exclusion of wrestling will be a huge loss for the country. But I am sure the international wrestling body will not let the sport be shown the door from the Games," said Raj Singh.


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