Rio 2016: Yogeshwar Dutt to start his campaign as India’s last hope for a medal
After Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) set aside the decision of the Indian anti-doping body NADA, and slapped a four-year ban of Narsingh Yadav on Friday, India’s hopes for one last medal in the Rio Olympics will rest on London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, who will commence with his campaign in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling on Sunday.
However, his road to a medal will not be easy as he will face Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran in the first round.
If Yogeshwar wins his first match, he is likely to face Russia’s Soslan Ramonov, who won gold in 2014 and bronze in 2015 world championship.
Yogeshwar's journey to securing an Olympic quota place hasn't been very smooth. Having recovered from three surgeries in 2015, he managed to book a ticket to Rio this year.
Now expectations are high and he himself wants to bid adieu to the wrestling arena with a second straight medal at the Olympics.
Playing in his fourth and, in all probability, his last Olympics, the 33-year-old will have his task cut out when he faces the world champion Frank Chamizo of Italy and Russia's Soslan Ramonov in his event on Sunday.
Narsingh was handed a ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) for flunking a dope test after WADA challenged the clean chit given to him by NADA.
"Ab kya karein sab bura ho raha hai apne saath (What do we do? Nothing is going our way)," men's freestyle coach Jagminder Singh told PTI, referring to Narsingh's ban.
"Everyone in the team is in a shock, and we are trying our best that it does not affect Yogeshwar. He is our last medal hope. We just pray that he gets a good draw," he added.
Yogeshwar has been very vocal in his support for Narsingh throughout. In fact, Yogeshwar was staying in the same building at the Games Village as Narsingh and has witnessed all that had taken place in the last couple of days.
Narsingh was evicted from the Olympics Village yesterday as the ban meant his accreditation and entry was cancelled, and he had to be shifted to a hotel.
(With PTI inputs)