If Yogeshwar Dutt is upgraded to London silver, it will be a deserved moment in the sun

Dileep Premachandran writes the bizarre case of Indian wrestling Yogeshwar Dutt may end in a retroactively awarded silver medal from the London Games, what would be a deserving recognition.

It’s been a bizarre two weeks in the life of Yogeshwar Dutt.

In the build-up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Dutt had criticised the appointment of Salman Khan, the actor, as a goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent. On the final day of competition, Dutt, 33, lost his first bout in the 65kg freestyle wrestling category. With his conqueror not making the final, the repechage route to glory was also slammed shut.

In London four years earlier, he had reeled off three straight wins to secure a bronze in the 60kg section. This defeat, coming on the heels of Narsingh Yadav being banned from the competition for failing a dope test, completed a miserable outing for the male wrestlers. On social media, Khan’s fans took potshots aplenty at Dutt.

But the story wasn’t over. On August 29, it was announced that urine samples taken in London had been tested again, and Besik Kudukhov, who had beaten Dutt and finished with silver, was found to have ingested banned substances. On September 2, it was revealed that Toghrul Asgarov, who won gold, had also failed the re-test.

Dutt had already spoken at length about the prospect of being upgraded to silver. Kudukhov, one of the great wrestlers of his era, died in a car crash in southern Russia in 2013, and Dutt said he would want his one-time adversary’s family to keep the silver medal out of respect for them.

Now, with the winner also under the scanner, a nation starved of Olympic gold is waiting expectantly for a decision from United World Wrestling (UWW). Logically though, it will be Coleman Scott, who also won bronze after losing to Asgarov in the semi-final, that gets the gold, with Yogeshwar moving up to silver.

If that happens, Dutt, who has toiled away from the spotlight for well over a decade, will have his deserved moment in the sun. And Kudukhov’s family will keep the medal.

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Published: September 3, 2016 04:00 AM