London: Yogeshwar Dutt was delighted after claiming a bronze medal in men's freestyle wrestling 60kg category on Saturday.
"It is a dream come true to win an Olympic medal. I have worked very hard for it, and I can't describe how I am feeling now. It is a very special moment for me," a beaming Yogeshwar said after his bronze-winning effort.
"I sacrificed a lot and have worked for this for the last 21 years. Since my childhood I always wanted to win an Olympic medal, and now I have achieved that dream," he said.
Yogeshwar was a little worried that he had a difficult draw but knew that he could still pull it off with a little bit of luck.
"I was a little worried because I had to fight with Olympic champions and world champions. When I lost the quarterfinal to the Russian, I was wondering whether I will actually get a chance. But God had other ideas, and here I am with the bronze medal.
Yogeshwar injured his eye in the pre-quarter final against the Russian but did not allow the injury to hamper his performance. His eyes were swollen and he had difficulty in sighting with the left eye.
"I got hurt in the earlier round, but in the Olympics we can't worry about these kind of injuries. We have to get out and fight," he explained.
The fact that Yogeshwar had to fight two rounds before taking the Korean for the bronze medal contest made his achievement all the more creditable. The Korean was absolutely fresh having got straight to the third round.
In the second round of repechage against the Iranian, Yogeshwar lost the first period 0-3 but bounced back strongly to clinch the second 3-2. In the third and final round, the Indian went all out for the attack and won it 4-0.
The Indian did not seem to exert too much in the first round of repechage against Puerto Rico's Gomez Matos as he clinched the bout with a resounding margin.
With both the rounds ending 0-0, the clinch was taken and on both the occasions the Indian picked up the right ball and scored the required one point quite easily.
"I dedicate this medal to my countrymen and my coaches who have worked equally hard," said Yogeshwar after finishing on the podium.
Earlier, Yogeshwar managed to get past his opening round opponent Anatolie Llarionovitch Guidea of Bulgaria with a comfortable victory, but could not overcome the strong Russian who recorded a 3-0 win.
The Indian was aggressive and fought well against the Russian in the first round but just did not have the luck.
After the first round ended 0-0, the Indian picked the blue ball in the tie-breaker lots, which meant that the Russian got the advantage of the clinch.
Kudukhov capitalised on that to grab the first round and just played safe to wrap up the second with a 2-0 scoreline.
In the first round, Yogeshwar prevailed over Guidea to progress to the pre-quarterfinals.
Dutt conceded the first round by one point but slowly turned the scale in his favour by winning the second.
In the third round, Dutt displayed good aggression and appeared technically superior to his Bulgarian opponent by scoring five technical points as against the two by Guidea.
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