With the medal hopefuls failing to measure up to the expectations at 2012 London Olympics, Indian sports lovers are now looking up to the wrestlers, who will enter the fray on Thursday, to resurrect the country's hope of raising the medal tally.
When it comes to freestyle wrestling, 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Sushil Kumar's name that first comes to the minds of the people. If he repeats the feat this time, he will become the first Indian sportsperson to clinch the second medal in a row in Olympics.
Sushil sprung a big surprise by his jaw-dropping performances in 2008 Beijing while clinging to the repechage. He was about to receive a big boot from the Games after losing to Ukraine's Andriy Stadnik in the first round of 66kg freestyle wrestling. However, to everyone's surprise the ace Indian grappler recorded a three successive win in the repechage bouts to eventually grab a bronze medal for the country.
This time around, India has picked up five medal potential athletes, including Sushil for freestyle wrestlers at Olympics, based on their performances in the erstwhile events. These grapplers are indeed expected to bring in a slew of surprises in terms of medals at the wrestling events.
India's wrestling athletes are: Narsingh Pancham Yadav (74kg), a gold medal winner at 2010 Commonwealth Games, Amit Kumar (55kg), a gold medal winner at the Asian Qualifying Tournament and Geeta Phogat (55kg), the first Indian woman athlete to clinch a gold medal at 2010 Commonwealth Games and is the first Indian woman wrestler to take part in the mega-sporting event.
Yogeshwar Dutt (60kg), who has got four golds to his credit, is also in the fray. He bagged two gold medals in Men's wrestling events in 2003 and 2010 commonwealth Games, and two more gold in 2008 and 2012 Asian games. He had a near miss in entering semi-finals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.