Not many would have known the guy who lost in the Quarter Finals of the men’s wrestling in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, qualified for the Repechage round just to lose again and set those failures as the stepping stone for success which made him to win a Bronze medal for India in the 2012 London Olympics. After been in Sushil Kumar’s shadow for the majority of his career, it’s time for Yogeshwar Dutt to come out of the dark and win some laurels for his country.
Born in a Brahmin family in Haryana, Balraj Phelwan inspired him to take up wrestling at an early age of eight, the age in which a normal boy will have a transition from cartoons to cricket. Under the guidance of Rampal, Yogeshwar was built up as a wrestler and came to limelight as a 20 year old who won 55 Kg Freestyle in the 2003 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship (CWC) in London before finished in the 18th position in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
He then worked on his body, gained some weight and started to wrestle in the 60 Kg category. He tasted success immediately in the new category in the 2005 Cape Town CWC in which he clinched Gold once again and defended it in London a couple of years later. These two Golds sandwiched his Bronze medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.
After winning Gold in the Asian Championships in South Korea, he qualified for the Beijing Olympics where he almost reached the Bronze medal match. He kept his focus on winning as many medals he can and kept on hitting the top gear whenever he gets on to the wrestling mat before a knee injury threatened to end his career at a young age. He fought it and overcame the injury just like the way he overcomes his opponents and went on to strike a Gold medal in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
His biggest achievement came in the 2012 London Olympics, where he earned the medal he missed in Beijing four years ago. He defended his Commonwealth Games Gold medal in Glasgow (2014) and like his good friend and fellow wrestler Sushil, Yogeshwar will look to change the colour of his Bronze medal when he boards the long flight to Rio de Janerio a couple of years later.