New Delhi: Stretching himself against an injury prone body, Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt on Tuesday said that the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be his last appearance at the quadrennial extravaganza and he is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to sign off with a gold medal.
"Rio will be my last Olympics and I am extremely keen to sign off with a medal. I am all focussed on my preparations and aiming for a gold medal," Yogeshwar told PTI.
The 32-year-old, however, made it clear that he would not retire after the Olympic Games and might take part in the Asian and Commonwealth Games if his body permits.
"I would not be retiring after the Olympics. Fitness permitting, I would still like to represent India in the Asian and Commonwealth Games (in 2018). But as far as Olympics are concerned, Rio would definitely be my last," Yogeshwar, who will be turning 33 on November 2, clarified.
The 2012 London Games bronze medallist said after the upcoming Pro Wrestling League (PWL), which will take place at various venues across India, he will be going abroad for two months to train before the next Olympic qualification.
"The next four months are going to be very important for me. After the Pro Wrestling League, I will be going abroad to train for two months. I will either go to USA or Russia to prepare myself before next Olympic qualifiers in March," he informed.
Yogeshwar would be participating in the Asian Olympic qualification to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from March 18 to 20 next year.
Having forced to pull out of the Wrestling World Championships at Las Vegas, USA last month after being found unfit, Yogeshwar admitted it was a "huge disappointment".
"I was completely heart broken and very disappointed, and more so because I knew I had a great chance of qualifying for next year's Olympics during the World Championship as I was very well prepared. But doctors advised me not to take part and I had to listen to them in order to save my body from further damage," recalled the wrestler.
Asked if he again gets injured during the gruelling PWL, which is just a domestic professional league competition, Yogeshwar said, "I can't be skipping all tournaments for the fear of getting injured. The Pro Wrestling League will be a good platform to judge where I stand and I will get to know my shortcomings. One gets to know about his weaknesses only while competing in a proper tournament."
"World class wrestlers are expected to be here for the PWL and it would be good opportunity for me to fight against at least five to six top grapplers before moving to the knock-out stage of the event. It would be good for me to face some tough competition. As it is, after PWL, I will have about three months time before the next Olympic qualifier to take care of my niggles," he insisted.
The wrestler from Haryana claimed that he has now completely recovered from his knee injury and going through some tough training schedule.
"I have been practising since last one month. I am in Sonepat and following a tight regime. After recovering from the injury, I am concentrating more on maintaining my stamina and fitness and also on improving my skills," Yogeshwar concluded.