Winning bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London made Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt a household name in the country. But for the freestyle wrestler, the crowning moment of his career bears a much bigger personal significance.
It marked the realisation of a dream - one sowed by his father Ram Meher Dutt in the traditional mud Yakharas of Haryana and finally bore fruit at the state-of-the-art Olympics ring in London.
Born in Bhainswal Kalan in Sonipat, Haryana, Yogeshwar Dutt hails from a family of teachers but was inspired to get into the sport by a renowned wrestler, Balraj Pehlwan, from his native village.
Dutt’s parents were initially unsure about him pursuing wrestling as a career, but it was just a matter of time before he won them over, with his father becoming one of his biggest support systems during the formative years.
By the time he was 14, Yogeshwar Dutt moved away from home to train at the famous Chhatrasal Stadium in New Delhi and paved his way to the senior stage.
Seven years later, at the Athens Olympics in 2004, a 21-year-old Yogeshwar Dutt found himself drawn in a pool against Japanese grappler Chikara Tanabe - the eventual bronze medallist that year - and Azerbaijan’s Namig Abdullayev, a gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games and a silver medallist in the 1996 Atlanta Games. Yogeshwar Dutt’s inexperience saw him being bested in both matches.
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