Pune wrestler takes down his maiden national gold, eyes 2020 Olympics
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Pune wrestler takes down his maiden national gold, eyes 2020 Olympics

Sachin Datal beats Haryana’s Jaideep 11-3 in the u-17 final to clinch his first ever national gold medal. The 17-year-old Khelo India 2019 winner says there are still miles to go and has already set himself targets, podium finishes

pune Updated: Jan 13, 2019 20:32 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,wrestler,takedown
Sachin Datal (red) beat Haryana’s Jaideep in the 60kg under-17 freestyle event at Khelo India Youth Games 2019 held at Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex, Balewadi on Friday.(HT PHOTO)

City wrestler Sachin Datal stunned the home audience in attendance by winning gold in the 60kg under-17 freestyle event at Khelo India 2019 held at the Balewadi sports complex on Friday.

The 17-year-old beat Haryana’s Jaideep 11-3 in the final to clinch his first ever national gold medal in the under-17 category.

A day after standing atop the podium, Datal expressed how much the gold meant to him and how the medal could now pave the way for a bright future with numerous sporting events around the corner.

“It is an amazing feeling to not only win a gold medal but also to be here at the Khelo India. Last season of Khelo India (2018) was a disappointing one as I participated but unfortunately got knocked out in the third round. I had also participated in the school nationals last year, where I lose semis against the same opponents that competed against me here in 2019, so winning the entire event is really something special,” said an ecstatic Datal.

After being something of a ‘nearly-there’ wrestler, Datal finally managed to defy his critics and go a step further.

Coming into the competition with no hopes of anything, the 17-year-old admitted that his coach and his family members were optimistic of him coming away with a bronze at worst and were already planning their celebrations.

He stated, “In the training camp my coach told me that I have to win a medal as my training was going good so I’m happy that I could live up to his expectations. Everyone was expecting me to win a medal at home and I’m fortunate that it all worked out well for me.”

Probably the reason why Datal’s family were so confident of winning a medal is that the sport ran in the genes with his father Chatrabhuj Datal and his brother Sambhaji Datal both being wrestlers themselves.

He explained that they had been following his training for the past 30 days and were pleased by the quick progress in his game.

According to Datal, the loss in the school nationals is what has opened his eyes and after consulting his coach Varun Tyagi, he paid to greater attention to what was lacking in his game and that Datal with reaped heavy benefits with him winning the gold medal a few days before the cadet national camp which is set to be held in the city.

Talking about the impact Tyagi has had on his game, the 17-year-old expressed, “My coach has worked wonders on my game. Improved my technique and we practised for longer hours than we used to. Since the start, I’ve been with him and whatever I am today is because of him.”

Despite winning gold at Khelo India 2019, Datal knows that there are still miles to go before he can rest and he is already looking to work on the mental aspect of his game.

He believes that losses can often derail him and he’s trying to remain positive despite any shortcomings that could slow him down.

“I feel bad when I lose and it’s often difficult to overcome it. So, I work harder and feel better after practising. I know that I need to stop worrying so much about my losses and spend that time on the mat training and improving my skills,” added Datal

The Wadgaon lad will soon hit the senior circuit just like his brother did a few years ago and is hoping that he can not only match but better his achievements.

He’s already set himself huge targets such as the Asian Games and Olympics 2020 and is working hard every day to achieve his goals.

Datal’s road to glory

Quarter-finals – beat Sahil from Punjab 10-4

Semi-finals – beat Maheshkumar Langoti from Karnataka 10-3

Final – beat Jaideep from Haryana 11-3

Medals

Bronze at the under-14 nationals in 2015

Gold at the Mayor’s Cup in Pune in 2017.

Quote

His performance at Khelo India 2019 was amazing and he is one of the shining stars for Maharashtra and one for the future for India. Last month he played at school nationals and didn’t win a medal. So I worked with him, worked on his health for a month and now he won us a medal. In just 30 days he has shown remarkable progress. Instead of focusing on his defence, I told him to play an attacking style of wrestling as he is an attacker. His double leg attacks are also very good, said Varun Tyagi, Sachin Datal’s coach

First Published: Jan 13, 2019 17:11 IST