Close to Monday midnight, several sports journalists in the country tumbled out of their beds to verify whether Yogeshwar Dutt’s London Olympic bronze medal had indeed changed to silver. Even as there was no official clarification from United World Wrestling (UWW) or International Olympic Committee (IOC,) the news had captured the imagination of social media. Though Yogeshwar saw the news in media only Tuesday morning and tweeted to say the medal was dedicated the countrymen.
आज सुबह पता चला की मेरा olympic medal upgrade हो कर Silver medal हो गया है। ये मेडल भी देशवासियों को समर्पित हैंpic.twitter.com/S6qxNHW9Po
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) August 30, 2016
The genesis of excitement in the country was following a report in international media, which said that Russia’s Besik Kudukhov, who finished second in the 60-kg freestyle event in the London Games in 2012, had tested positive for a banned substance. In view of Besik’s disqualification, it was automatic up gradation to silver for Yogeshwar.
According to Russian agency flowrestling.org, the four-time world champion and two-time Olympic medallist Kudukhov has been stripped off the silver medal. Interestingly, the Russian wrestler had died in a car crash in 2013.
The IOC re-tested Kudukhov samples collected at London keeping in view the new rules and a recent expose of doping scandals in Russian sports.
Following a rather poor performance by wrestlers and dismal overall show in Rio, Yogeshwar’s up gradation to silver is heartening news.
Even though Sakshi Malik won a bronze for India in the recently concluded Rio Games, it was a poor show for the country as far as wrestling is concerned.
In the run up to the Games Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Yadav fought court battle for a place in Olympic and then one day before the event Narsingh was banned for doping and ousted from the Games. This followed serious injury to medal potential Vinesh and defeat for Babita. And just when all eyes were on Yogeshwar to redeem Indian hopes, he also fell by the wayside in the first round.
It may be too late for Yogeshwar to celebrate his 'silver' four years down the line. But at the same time it would be interesting to know whether Haryana Government will give him arrears of the difference in amount for the bronze and silver medals. As a bronze medallist Yogeshwar had got 2.5 crore from the Haryana Government. Will he now get an extra equal sum for Haryana gives 5 crore to silver medallists.