Olympics: Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt wins bronze, gives India its fifth medal

Yogeshwar Dutt put up a brilliant display of power-packed freestyle wrestling in the Olympic Games and won a bronze medal at the ExCel Arena to give a late spark to India's campaign here today.

The 29-year-old experienced grappler from Sonepat in Haryana showed tremendous fighting spirit and exhibited excellent technique against three very strong rivals in the repechage rounds to clinch India's fifth medal of the Games.

Dutt clinched the bronze as he staged a brilliant rally after losing the opening round to North Korea's Jong Myong Ri on his way to recording an emphatic 3-1 victory in the 60kg freestyle play-off.

Yogeshwar Dutt
Yogeshwar Dutt (right) is declared the winner after defeating North Korea's Ri Jong Myong in their Men's 60kg freestyle bronze medal match. Pic/AFP 

It was India's third wrestling medal at the Olympics after Kashaba Jadhav's bronze in the 1952 Helsinki Games and a similar feat by Sushil Kumar four years ago in Beijing.

Dutt, who had narrowly missed the bronze at Beijing, had to fight five bouts on a single day to clinch the bronze, and his lone loss was against reigning world champion Besik Kudukhov of Russia in the prequarters.

Given a lease of life when the Russian reached the final, Yogeshwar was in his element and fought off the challenge of three strong rivals in the repechage on his way to a bronze.

Yogeshwar started off with a win over World Championship runner-up Franklin Gomez Matos of Puerto Rico and followed it with another brilliant victory over Iran's Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari to be one win away from a medal.

The two victories that came within the space of 20 minutes got Yogeshwar's adrenaline going and he brought off another stupendous come from behind victory over his North Korean rival to fetch the bronze.

Yogeshwar's stupendous show lit up a gloomy day for India at the Games after its men's hockey team finished 12th and last in the competition, which ended with a 2-3 loss to South Africa in the classification match, and Basanta Bahadur Rana set a national mark but ended up 36th in 50km race walk today.  

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