Rio De Janeiro:
In a massive heartbreak for India, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt slumped to a shock defeat in the men's 65kg freestyle qualification round bout against Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran of Mongolia at the Rio Olympic Games on Sunday.
The London Olympic bronze-medalist's only hope of making it to the medal rounds lies in his Mongolian opponent reaching the gold medal round. Mandakhnaran is the gold-medallist from the 2010 Asian Games and a two-time World Championships bronze-winner.
Should Mandakhnaran makes the final, Yogeshwar will have to fight two repechage rounds before entering the bronze medal playoff.
The 33-year-old grappler from Haryana, who is playing in his fourth and, in all probability, last Olympics, looked a pale shadow of his previous self as he lost 0-3 to the Mongolian grappler.
From the very beginning, Yogeshwar failed to get around the Mandakhnaran, who moved at a very fast pace.
In the opening period, Mandakhnaran earned a point in 30 seconds due to the passivity of Yogeshwar to take a 1-0 lead.
Mandakhnaran then turned a defensive position into an attacking one to take down Yogeshwar and quickly bag two points to surge ahead.
With a minute to go, Yogeshwar failed to get around his opponent and went into the break 0-3 down.
Yogeshwar, who qualified only in March this year for the Rio Games after struggling with a knee injury, was expected to turn the tables in the second period but he just could not script a comeback.
In the last minute of the bout, he tried to pin down his rival but all his efforts went in vain.
As per news reports, India’s third medal hopes in Rio 2016 Olympics now rest with wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt who will commence his campaign in the 65kg freestyle wrestling on Sunday, 5 pm IST. He would be up against Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran of Mongolia in the first round but faces a tricky draw ahead.
India’s London bronze medallist is likely to face Russia’s Soslan Ramonov – 2014 worlds gold and 2015 bronze winner in the quarter-final. If he gets past him, Uzbek’s Ikhtoyor Navruzov – reigning silver medallist – could meet in semis.
Yogeshwar, qualified for Rio Olympics from Asian Olympic Qualifiers held in Astana in February 2016. is India’s last representative at the prestigious event. Apart from Sakshi, bronze medallist, India wrestlers have had a forgettable outing so far.
Vinesh Phogat unfortunately injured her knee during her women’s freestyle 48kg quarterfinal against China’s Sun Yanan. While Phogat exited due to injury, Babita Kumari was knocked out in her opening women’s 53 kg category wrestling bout 1-5 against Maria Prevolaraki of Greece and got eliminated from the Games.
Sandeep Tomar lost to two-time World Champion Victor Lebedev of Russia 3-7 in the 57 kg category to get ousted from the men’s freestyle wrestling. Apart from this, Narsingh Yadav was banned for four years, just a day before his bout.
The Indian wrestler was set to complete in the 74kg category at Rio 2016 Olympics but was slapped a four-year ban by CAS following an appeal by WADA. WADA exercised its right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) after the wrestler’s exoneration by a national anti-doping hearing panel in New Delhi. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had cleared the wrestler after he tested positive test for anabolic steroids.
“Rashtravaad.” Yogeshwar Dutt sinks in the sofa, legs folded, sipping coconut water. He contemplates for a moment, then repeats again. “Rashtravaad…wohi toh ek dharm hai.” (Nationalism is a religion). “We have no other identity, do we?” he says.
Though he has been tweeting for a while, and had rebuked the actor Aamir Khan last year for saying India was getting intolerant, it was this February that Dutt really exploded on the social media scene. Unlike the cricketers and a majority of other sportsmen for that matter, it was clear that Dutt wasn’t going to be content just wrestling bodies but was interested in wrestling minds by joining debates and taking sides on issues that unravel in this diverse country. You might agree or disagree with his views but Dutt isn’t going to be a mute witness. Tweets and retweets flooded his timeline after the student leader Kanhaiya’s speech at the JNU. An emotional poem he posted on Facebook, and subsequently tweeted, went viral.
“… (Those who are singing praises of Afzal Guru have the blood of Mahmud Ghazni in them. They consider themselves as enemies of the country in which they are born. What sort of freedom of speech is this that permits one to abuse Mother India? What sort of freedom of expression allows one to violate the honour of my country? If Afzal is martyr then who is Hanumanthappa?” the poem raises the death of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who was buried under 35 feet of snow after an avalanche hit an army camp in Siachen Glacier.