Wrestlers determined to give their best in Olympics
New Delhi: Well aware that a single moment of glory at the London Games may well change their lives, Indian wrestlers are determined to put up an impressive show in the upcoming Olympics.
While Sushil Kumar has tasted success at the Beijing Games in 2008, his long-time friend and fellow grappler, Yogeshwar Dutt, and youngsters Narsingh Pancham Yadav and Amit Kumar see London as an opportunity to realise their unfulfilled dreams.
"I lost my quarter-final bout in Beijing by a narrow margin, that pain is still there so I do not want to let go this chance easily," said Yogeshwar, who conceded that this may well be his last Olympic appearance.
The 29-year-old grappler from Haryana, however, said that his preparations were going on well and he was confident of a good show.
"The camp in Colorado Springs was very effective. We got a chance to analyse our game and test our skills against some of the best wrestlers. The coaches made us to work on our grey areas. If not everything it has made us confident that we can compete and get the desired results at the Olympics," the 60kg freestyle wrestler said on the sidelines of a send-off function organised by the Wrestling Federation of India here today.
Sushil, on whose sturdy shoulders rests a more than million hopes, said he doesn`t want to think about the medal and just wants to give his best on the mat.
"If I will think about the medal, I won`t be able to concentrate on my game," said Sushil, a view that his mentor and coach Satpal Singh endorsed.
"Sushil is an emotional guy and I am really worried with the kind of pressure that is being build around him for getting a gold in the Olympics, but I get solace from his calm and composed demeanor," Satpal said.
The Delhi lad, who will be leading the Indian contingent at the opening ceremony of the Games, said that he felt elated at the honour being bestowed upon him, but pointed that with every big thing there comes an additional responsibility.
"I am really thankful to the people of my country that they have shown faith in me. But with ever honour there comes an additional responsibility and I don`t want to let down my countrymates," Sushil said.
The seasoned grappler rated the current wrestling contingent as one of the best to have competed in the Olympics and insisted that all five of them stand a good chance at the quadrennial event.
Narshing, meanwhile, said that the chance to represent his country at the Olympics has come after a lot of hard work and insisted that he was well aware of the demands and expectations of the people.
"My only focus is to get a medal in the Olympics. I am not thinking about anything else at this stage," Narsingh said.
"I am satisfied with the way things have been shaping up recently, the camp at Colorado Springs was very effective and I am looking forward to the stay at Belarus before the Games," he added.
Narsingh (75kg) mentioned he will try to further sharpen his skills at the conditioning-cum-training camp at Minsk.
"There is still some time before we compete in the Olympics and I want to utilise it to the best of my potential. I will try and ensure that I cover all the gaps in my technique before heading into the Olympics," he said.
The youngest member of the team, Amit Kumar, on the other hand is relishing all the fanfare around him. The 19-year-old doesn`t want to stress himself too much by thinking about the Games and is rather considering the mother of all sporting events as just another tournament.
"I never expected that I would make it to the Olympics in 2012. I was preparing myself for the 2016 event, but it has come as a sweet surprise for me also. Since, I am the youngest member of the team there is no pressure on me. I will head to the Olympics with a clear mind and with the intention that I have to give my 100 per cent. I considering London as just any other event," he said.
The first and lone Indian woman grappler to participate in the Games, Geeta Phogat, is also not losing much sleep over getting a medal in the Olympics.
The girl from Haryana is rather determined to give her best at the marquee event.
"A little bit of pressure is always good, but I am not thinking much about winning the medal. My focus rather is on giving my best on that particular day," Geeta said.