Yogeshwar Dutt’s hobby is changing his goals. First, it was winning an Olympic medal in wrestling: he did it in London 2012, where he won bronze in the 60kg category. Then he eyed gold in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. He ticked that off, too. Next on his list: gold in Rio.
“I have forgotten London, what I did there. So many things have changed—my weight category, especially,” said Dutt, before leaving for Georgia, his final stop before Rio, where he will be competing in the 65kg category.
It has not been the best of buildups for the wrestling team. The air at Sports Authority of India regional centre in Sonepat, where Dutt and his teammates trained before they left for Georgia, was tense after World Championship bronze medallist Narsingh Yadav was found to have failed a dope test. Yadav was later cleared.
Dutt was also worried about a niggling knee injury, which saw him spend hours with a physio and then train in the newly installed hypoxic chamber in Sonepat. “My entire focus is on my training. Yes, 2015 was not great. There were injuries that came up, but my recovery has been very good. I spent the past few months on the mat,” he said. The news of the death of his first guru in the akhada has hit him hard, but his focus on the mission has been unwavering.
Dutt, 33, is considered one of the finest exponents of wrestling moves. And that is what makes him a strong contender against younger and stronger opponents. “I have worked on new ways to attack the leg,” said Dutt, “and have learnt new moves on how to defend my legs better.”