Yogeshwar targets Gold in his last Olympic event

Sonepat: The missed chance at the Beijing Games still haunts Yogeshwar Dutt and the Indian grappler is desperate that before he brings curtains on his career, he realises the dream of winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

Dutt feels that the London Games in all probability would be his last Olympics and he is determined that his third appearance at the mega event fetches him the desired result. Dutt was close to grab a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008 but had lost the crucial bout in the last 10 seconds.

"Olympic Games does not happen every year, it happens in every four years and I am lucky that God has provided me the opportunity the third time. I don`t know whether I would be participating in the next Olympics or not, I just want to perform well, treating it as my last chance," Yogeshwar told PTI during an exclusive chat at the SAI Centre here.

"This time I want to bring something for my nation. I am targeting gold in my category. Sushil brought the medal last time, this Olympics I want to bring it. This Olympics would be my last in all likelihood with future generation performing well. The ultimate satisfaction would be to clinch gold medal before retiring," he said. Dutt is confident not only about himself but other members of the team.

"I am hopeful of 2-3 medals from wrestling." The 29-year-old said the training sessions at US has helped his game a lot. "The training camp at the Colorado Springs helped us to get acclimatise to the weather condition,which would be similar to London. I got a chance to test my skills against some of the Olympic-bound wrestlers and that has helped me improve upon my foot movement, speed and ground wrestling.

"The foot movement is the most essential part of your game and you need to have a strong lower body to produce results at the big stage. We would have to give our best at the London to clinch a medal," he explained. Talking about the upcoming conditioning camp in Belarus, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist said, "The two countries fall in a similar time zone and it will help us in adapting to the conditions in London. There is not much time left to add some new technique to our repertoire. We would look to become mentally tough before heading for the Games."

He added that there would be around seven to eight Olympic-bound countries in Belarus, which will help them to know their strengths and weaknesses. The 60kg freestyle wrestler from Haryana said he doesn`t want to repeat the mistakes of Beijing. "I lacked foot movement during the Beijing Olympics and I don`t want to repeat that mistake again in London. Speed and stamina are now the biggest strengths of the Indian wrestlers," he added.

Dutt, who is a close friend of Beijing Games bronze medallist Sushil Kumar, has enough experience to make the London Olympics a memorable event. He had won the gold medal in the 2003 Commonwealth Championship, beside winning the bronze at the 15th Asian Games at Doha.

"This time it would be a different story with so much experience behind me, It`s been since 2003 that I have been competing on the mat at the international level. Last time during Beijing, I missed the medal but not this time. The entire country is praying for our success at the Olympics and we are also confident of good show." Asked who would pose a tough challenge to their medal prospects, he said, "Japan, Russia, USA, Ukraine will be tough to beat."