Who is Yogeshwar Dutt?
Yogeshwar Dutt is a wrestler from India who has emerged as one of India’s top wrestlers and has won plenty of medals to become one of the most well-known wrestlers of his generation. Dutt’s father and mother, both, were school teachers and they wanted him to follow in their footsteps but he showed an interest in wrestling from a very early age. As a child, he was inspired by the exploits of a wrestler from his native village and from then on he started taking wrestling seriously. He performed credibly at the school level and won some competitions that further reinforced his belief in his abilities. Yogeshwar Dutt came into the limelight as a top level wrestler in the 60 kg freestyle category at the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester in 2002 and from then on he went from strength to strength as a professional. Dutt overcame the shock of losing his father ahead of the Asian Games in 2006 and went on to win the gold medal at the event. However, his greatest moment as a wrestler was without doubt his bronze medal winning effort at the 2012 London Olympics and in the process he became one of the very few individual Olympic medalists from India.
Childhood & Early Life
Yogeshwar Dutt was born on 2 November 1982, in Sonepat, Haryana, India, to Ram Mehar and Sushila Devi. Both his parents as well as his grandfather were teachers and his family wanted him to follow in their footsteps.
He was interested in wrestling from a very early age and he started wrestling from the age of eight. Dutt was inspired by the exploits of Balraj Pehlwan, a wrestler from his native village, and started training under the wrestling coach Ralph.
In 1992, when he was in Class 5, he won a school championship and thereafter his family encouraged and supported his interest in wrestling.
In 1994, Dutt participated in the international school cadet games in Poland and won the gold. In 1996, he shifted to Chhatrasal stadium in Delhi in order to concentrate more on wrestling. Later on, he completed his graduation to satisfy his parents.
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Yogeshwar Dutt Dutt represented India in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship, held in London in 2003 and won the gold medal in 55 kg freestyle category. He was part of Indian wrestling contingent at the 2004 Athens Olympics and stood 18th in Men's freestyle 55 kg category.
He suffered a personal setback just few days ahead of the 2006 Doha Asian Games when his father died and he also sustained a knee injury. However, he overcame all the setbacks and won the bronze medal in the 60 kg category.
He qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning a gold medal at the 2008 Asian Championships held at Jeju City, South Korea. It was Dutt’s second appearance at the Olympics but he was never in contention for a medal and lost in the quarterfinals of the 60 kg freestyle event.
Yogeshwar Dutt battled knee injury in order to participate in the Commonwealth Games that were held in New Delhi, India in 2010, and against all odds he went on to win the gold medal in the 60 kg freestyle category. The performance was hailed as a tactical master class since his knee surgery had limited his powers a fair bit.
In 2012, Dutt ended up winning a silver medal at the Asian qualification competition held in Astana, Kazakhstan to qualify for 2012 London Olympics.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Dutt performed well and won the bronze medal at the event. It was only the third time in history that an Indian wrester won a medal at the Olympics. It was at the London Olympics that Dutt used his Fitele or ‘leg twisting’ manoeuvre for the first time and it proved to be extremely successful.
Yogeshwar Dutt next represented India at the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014 and carried on his good show by winning the gold medal in the 65 kg freestyle category. He dominated all his opponents at the Commonwealth Games. In the same year, Dutt won a gold medal at the Asian Games in the 65 kg freestyle category.
Awards & Achievements
In 2012, he was honored with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award which is the highest honour for sportspersons in India.