Avtar Singh has become the only Indian judoka so far to seal a berth for the nation in the Rio Olympics 2016. This was confirmed after the International Judo Federation released a list, stating the 24-year-old Indian had qualified for the mega sporting event in the 90 kg weight category.
Avtar is one of the two judokas from Asia this year to book a place in the Rio Olympics, courtesy a continental quota, informed Judo Federation of India President Mukesh Kumar.
"I didn't expect this (qualifying for Olympics). It doesn't matter if I win or lose. I know I train hard and I give my 100 per cent. I have promised to do well for my country and I just want to give my best," Avtar said while speaking to The Hindu.
Avtar, who won a gold medal in Judo at the South Asian Games 2016 earlier this year, finished fifth in the Asian Judo Championships in April in Uzbekistan, after beating judokas from China and Iran. This paved the way for his first-ever Olympics qualification.
"It was so much difficult (to qualify for the Olympics). Sometimes, the Federation (JFI) supports me and sometimes it doesn't," continued Avtar.
Over the years, several judokas from India qualified for the Olympics. Here is the list of participants:
1992 Barcelona Olympics: Sandeep Byala, Cawas Billimoria.
2000 Sydney Olympics: Brojeshwori Devi
2004 Athens Olympics: Akram Shah
2008 Beijing Olympics: Diviya
2016 Rio Olympics: Avtar Singh