Olympics: All eyes on Sushil after Yogeshwar's bronze
Yogeshwar Dutt provided a late boost to India's medal collection in the 30th Olympic Games. The country will now hope to add one more medal to its kitty today when star wrestler Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze in Beijing, takes part in the men's 66 kg category. Hooda announces Rs. 1 cr cash reward for Yogeshwar | Know the medallist | India a global force, but not at the Olympics | Yogeshwar clinches bronzeindia Updated: Aug 12, 2012 11:43 IST
India will now hope to add one more medal to its kitty on Sunday, the last day of competitions, when star wrestler Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze in Beijing, takes part in the men's 66 kg category.
The bronze is India's third wrestling medal in the Olympic history after Khashaba Jadhav's bronze in 1952 at Helsinki and Sushil Kumar's similar feat four years ago in Beijing.
Yogeshwar Dutt provided a late boost to India's medal collection in the 30th Olympic Games by claiming a memorable bronze in the men's freestyle 60 kg category, thus becoming the third Indian grappler to achieve the feat in the country's Games history.
The 29-year-old Yogeshwar produced a heroic show on the wrestling mat as he worked his way through three rounds of repechage to snatch the bronze medal and take India's tally to a record five medals -- one silver and four bronze -- at the Excel Arena.
Spurred on by vociferous Indian spectators who kept chanting 'India, India', Yogeshwar pulled off a spectacular 3-1 victory over North Korea's Ri Jong Myong to bring about his moment of glory in a thrilling bout, which saw the Indian concede the first round.
But Yogeshwar, a gold medal winner in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, pulled things back by clinching the second round, much to the delight of the Indian spectators and officials who watched the proceedings with bated breath.
In the third and final round, Yogeshwar pulled off a stunning 'fitele', a term used by wrestlers when they twirl their opponent on their back a few times with great speed, to completely leave the Korean in a daze.
With Yogeshwar's bronze, India have so far achieved their best medal tally in the history of the Olympic Games, bettering the one gold and two bronze medals they bagged in the Beijing Games four years ago.
Shooter Vijay Kumar has fetched a silver, while Saina Nehwal, Gagan Narang and five-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom won bronze for the country in the ongoing edition.
It was a remarkable display of strength, stamina and skill by Yogeshwar who was touted as a serious medal contender and who lived upto the expectation, unlike some of the other Indian star athletes who put in below-par shows to return home empty-handed.
After losing his quarterfinal bout to four-time world champion Besik Kudukhov of Russia, the Indian got a chance to have a crack at the bronze medal only because the Russian proceeded to the final.
He first defeated Franklin Gomex Matos of Puerto Rico 3-0 in the first round of repechage and then defeated Iran's Masoud Esmaeli Poorjouybari in the second round with a 3-1 verdict after gaining seven technical points as compared to his rival's five.
"It is a dream come true to win an Olympic medal. I have worked very hard for it, and I can't describe how I am feeling now. It is a very special moment for me," a beaming Yogeshwar said after his bronze-winning effort.
"I sacrificed a lot and have worked for this for the last 21 years. Since my childhood I always wanted to win an Olympic medal, and now I have achieved that dream," he said.
Yogeshwar was a little worried that he had a difficult draw but knew that he could still pull it off with a little bit of luck.
"I was a little worried because I had to fight with Olympic champions and world champions. When I lost the quarterfinal to the Russian, I was wondering whether I will actually get a chance. But God had other ideas, and here I am with the bronze medal.
Yogeshwar injured his eye in the pre-quarter final against the Russian but did not allow the injury to hamper his performance. His eyes were swollen and he had difficulty in sighting with the left eye.
"I got hurt in the earlier round, but in the Olympics we can't worry about these kind of injuries. We have to get out and fight," he explained.
The fact that Yogeshwar had to fight two rounds before taking the Korean for the bronze medal contest made his achievement all the more creditable. The Korean was absolutely fresh having got straight to the third round.
In the second round of repechage against the Iranian, Yogeshwar lost the first period 0-3 but bounced back strongly to clinch the second 3-2. In the third and final round, the Indian went all out for the attack and won it 4-0.
The Indian did not seem to exert too much in the first round of repechage against Puerto Rico's Gomez Matos as he clinched the bout with a resounding margin.
With both the rounds ending 0-0, the clinch was taken and on both the occasions the Indian picked up the right ball and scored the required one point quite easily.
"I dedicate this medal to my countrymen and my coaches who have worked equally hard," said Yogeshwar after finishing on the podium.
Earlier, Yogeshwar managed to get past his opening round opponent Anatolie Llarionovitch Guidea of Bulgaria with a comfortable victory, but could not overcome the strong Russian who recorded a 3-0 win.
The Indian was aggressive and fought well against the Russian in the first round but just did not have the luck. After the first round ended 0-0, the Indian picked the blue ball in the tie-breaker lots, which meant that the Russian got the advantage of the clinch.
Kudukhov capitalised on that to grab the first round and just played safe to wrap up the second with a 2-0 scoreline.
In the first round, Yogeshwar prevailed over Guidea to progress to the pre-quarterfinals.
Dutt conceded the first round by one point but slowly turned the scale in his favour by winning the second.
In the third round, Dutt displayed good aggression and appeared technically superior to his Bulgarian opponent by scoring five technical points as against the two by Guidea.
First Published: Aug 12, 2012 09:07 IST