Sushils`s words spurred me to go for medal: Sandeep
New Delhi: Apart from skill and will, it needed a word of wisdom from senior pro Sushil Kumar to inspire rising grappler Sandeep Tulsi Yadav to go all out for a medal in the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest.
Few encouraging words from the double Olympic medallist ensured that the 25-year-old Yadav stood on the podium with the bronze medal dangling around his neck.
"Before coming back from the championships, Sushil `bhai` dropped into my room to advice me on how to go about it. He told me that you have a genuine chance of winning a medal and asked me not to think about the opponents. His words spurred me to give my 100 per cent," Greco Roman wrestler Yadav told PTI.
Yadav delivered India its first-ever medal in the Greco Roman category when he defeated Serbia`s Aleksandar Maksimovic in the 66kg division on Sunday.
"It was a dream come true. There were expectations from me and I am happy that I delivered. Moreover, I became a part of a historic event. I hope my medal will motivate others to pursue the ancient form of wrestling," the Mumbai lad said.
After being sidelined in the home Asian Championships in April due to a shoulder injury, Yadav vowed to make an impact at the Worlds and was happy to rise to the occasion.
"I injured my right shoulder in Gonda nationals last year, which kept me out of action for a few months and unfortunately I could not take part in the Asian event in Delhi. I knew I had to do well at the world event as everyone felt I had it me to achieve big at the international level.
"I thank my coaches for believing in me and helping me. The 15-day training camp ahead of the championship was also very helpful," he said.
It was in 2009 Nationals that Yadav caught the eye of the senior coaches and was given a year-long stint at the national camp in Sonepat. The experience there transformed Yadav into a much confident grappler.
"I got to learn every minute detail about Greco Roman wrestling. I went onto win the 2010 Nationals after it. It made me a better fighter," said Yadav, who has won gold in sub-junior and bronze in junior nationals.
Like other Greco Roman wrestlers, Yadav too began with the freestyle until he was asked to switch to the traditional form, looking at his superior throwing techniques.
Coach Kuldip Singh, who was on his maiden tour with the team, said the medal was long over due in this style, which is very popular and keenly pursued in Europe.
"I am very proud of my team, especially Sandeep. We knew we can bag medal at big events. We needed role models in our style and I am sure this bronze medal open gates for a promising future," Singh said.
"We have to popularise this format more. It`s after coaches spot wrestlers at national competitions that they advice them to go for Greco Roman considering their style of fighting. But by that time they are already 16-17 years old and have imbibed freestyle techniques.
"We have to start grooming wrestlers for Greco-Roman at early age, so that they can excel," he added.