Over the last half-a-decade wrestling in India has been synonymous with one man — Sushil Kumar — thanks to his brilliant performances that began with a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and continued with a 2010 World Championships gold followed by a silver in the 2012 London Games. Yogeshwar Dutt began sharing the limelight with Sushil since his bronze winning show in London.
On Monday, 20-year-old Amit Kumar added his name to Indian wrestling’s glorious record books with a silver-medal effort at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest. In fact, Amit has the potential to achieve a lot more than what Sushil (66kg category) and Yogeshwar (60kg) have achieved, says India’s veteran freestyle coach Yashvir Singh.
“Amit is the perfect substitute for Sushil and Yogeshwar. They are both 30 and will be participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Amit is only 20. The good thing is that he has matured early, which means he will be around for much longer and can achieve a lot more than them,” Yashvir told MiD DAY from Delhi yesterday.
Yashvir was alongside Sushil when he won the 2010 World Championships gold in Moscow and also became the first Indian to win the prestigious International Wrestling Federation’s (FILA) Coach of the Year award the same year. It’s no wonder then that he’s ready to put his money where his mouth is.
“I expected Amit to win gold here, but unfortunately he missed out narrowly (Amit went down 1-2 to Iran’s Hassan Farman Rahimi in the 55kg final). But I’m
confident he will win gold in Rio,” added Yashvir. “I first saw Amit when he came to the Chhatrasal Stadium as a nine-year-old. He was so fidgety and energetic, that I knew if his energies could be concentrated in the right place, he would be a good wrestler.
He won a gold at the national schools competition, and also became Asian champion thereafter. He idolises Sushil and Yogeshwar and imitates whatever they do during training. He’s their perfect chela (follower),” added Yashvir, claiming that the International Olympic Committee’s decision to reinstate wrestling into the Olympic fold after deciding to drop it a few months ago, has breathed new life into Indian wrestlers.
“Besides Amit there other promising wrestlers too like Narsingh Yadav (74kg) and Praveen Rana (66kg) who are capable of bringing glory to India in the future. London 2012 saw wrestling give India two medals, but at Rio 2016 wrestling will contribute at least four medals to the Indian tally,” Yashvir signed off.