“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”
On Sunday at the Dowon Gymnasium in Incheon, we got to witness this as India’s marquee wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt once gain gave an example of his sheer determination, spirit and tenacity. A battle is never over until the final whistle goes. Down and out, trailing 5-7 to Chinese Katai Yeerlanbieke in the second period of the Men’s 65kg Freestyle semi-final, Yogeshwar Dutt showed why he is one of India’s most revered wrestlers. Champions look for just an opening and Yogeshwar’s constant vigilance for his opponent’s weakness finally paid off towards the dying minutes of the second period.
He could finally pin his spirited opponent to have a chance at the Asian Games gold medal which had so far been missing from his kitty.
Yogeshwar’s commitment had always been exemplary. Just days after losing his father, Dutt had gone on to participate in the 2006 Doha Asian Games to bring back the bronze. And so it was extremely heartening to see such a gritty wrestler fighting his heart out for the gold. He faced Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan in the final who was not ready to give up easily. It was a battle of attrition and the Tajik wrestler did not leave him much ground. Deftly avoiding Dutt’s leg tackles, he kept on frustrating the Indian.
But Dutt displayed his wealth of experience in dealing with such a determined wrestler. Mixing between sharp attacks and passive fights, Dutt defended himself pretty well with a one-point lead. With the point in the bag, he smartly played on till the final whistle to claim the gold.
Yogeshwar Dutt’s Asian Games gold medal thus completes his stellar resume which already has an Olympic bronze, Asian Wrestling Championship gold, Commonwealth Games gold. 28 years after Kartar Singh won the gold in 100kg at the Seoul Asian Games, an Indian wrestler wins an Asiad gold again.
It is only fitting that the honour had to come to none other than Yogeshwar Dutt.