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Tendulkar meets Rio-bound wrestlers, boosts morale

New Delhi: Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has met the Olympic-bound Indian wrestling contingent at a city hotel here and boosted the athletes' confidence ahead of the mega event in August.

With the exception of Yogeshwar Dutt (men's 65kg) and Sandeep Tomar (57kg), all the wrestlers who have secured Olympic quotas -- Narsingh Yadav (men's 74kg), Vinesh Phogat (women's 48kg), Babita Kumari (women's 53kg), Sakshi Malik (women's 58kg), Ravinder Khatri (Greco-Roman 85kg) and Hardeep (Greco-Roman 98kg) -- met the legendary batsman.

Even the coaches of all three formats were present on the occasion, along with Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajiv Mehta and Olympic-bound table tennis player Manika Batra.

Tendulkar today posted a couple of pictures of his meeting with the wrestling contingent on his twitter account. "Met some of our champion athletes preparing for #RioOlympics2016. Wonderful knowing their experiences and dreams!," Tendulkar wrote on his twitter handle.

Women's wrestling team coach Kuldeep Singh, who was present on the occasion, said that the two-hour long meeting with Tendulkar proved to be a psychological boost for the wrestlers.

"Our wrestlers were very happy to meet Tendulkar. We had meal together and then he spoke to the athletes and boosted their confidence ahead of the Rio Games. Speaking to him was a big psychological boost for our players," the coach told PTI.

"He shared his own experiences, narrated a lot of stories and also spoke about how he dealt with all the pressure during his playing days," he added.

The 43-year-old cricketer, who is IOA's goodwill ambassador for the Rio Olympics, also shared some valuable tips to overcome challenges during the Rio Games.

"He told the athletes how to hide their own weaknesses and try to recognise and highlight the weaknesses of the opponents. He also told them to work on their strengths," revealed Kuldeep.

"After taking the inputs from the coaches, he spoke to the wrestlers about the areas where they are lacking and how they could improve on those. Although, we as coaches, keep telling them about the grey areas but when it comes from someone like Tendulkar, it really makes a difference."

As IOA's goodwill ambassador, Tendulkar has been meeting athletes who have qualified for the Olympics and encouraging them to give their best at Rio de Janeiro.

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