Road to Rio: Indian Navy wrestler Sandeep Tomar grapples to bring pride to India

Name: Sandeep Tomar
Age: 25

Discipline (sport): Wrestling
Category: Men's Freestyle 57 kg

Qualification: Tomar secured an Olympic quota berth with a bronze-medal finish in the 1st World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.

Past Olympic performance: Debut.
Past record (best performances): - Sandeep bagged a gold medal at the 2016 Asian Wrestling Championships in Bangkok.
- He won the gold medal at the 2013 Johannesburg Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in the 55 kg event.
- He was one of the 9 gold medallists at the 2012 Copa Brasil event in Rio de Janeiro.
- He also won the silver medal in the 57kg category at the Spanish Grand Prix Wrestling championship in Madrid.
- Sandeep has also won a gold medal at the 2014 World Military Championship in USA.

 Road to Rio: Indian Navy wrestler Sandeep Tomar grapples to bring pride to India

File photo of Sandeep Tomar. Getty Images

Sandeep’s Rio qualification at the 1st World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Mongolia was quite exhilarating. After he defeated two-time world champion Sezar Agkul of Turkey to qualify, Tomar proved that he was not going to remain under the shadow of established names like Yogeshwar Dutt and Narsingh Yadav.

Tomar hails from a small village in Uttar Pradesh called Malakpur. The village takes pride in the fact that he will be the fourth wrestling Olympian from the village. Another aspect that they take immense pride in is the fact that Sandeep has clinched a medal in every international tournament that he has participated in outside India so far. Tomar has won four gold, one silver and four bronze medals in the nine competitions he has participated so far.

The grappler doesn’t just have the expectations of his village to live up to; even the Indian Navy has their hopes set on Tomar. He was spotted by Navy coach Kuldeep Singh at a senior national’s event, and he was also responsible for Sandeep’s shift higher than his initial 50kg weight category in the discipline.

If history is any indication, Sandeep’s chances at Rio seem pretty good. His first international tournament was the 2012 Copa Brasil in Rio, where he managed to get a gold medal as well. Sandeep also has high hopes for the rest of the wrestling contingent. "We have seen that Indian wrestlers can perform well against the best in the world and also win medals at the Olympics and World Championships. We just need to believe in ourselves," Tomar said to Sportskeeda. “I’m confident that India can win 4-5 medals in Rio,” he added in another interview.

Sandeep isn’t complacent, but hopes to do well in Rio. He told Sportskeeda that, “I want to assure all that I will win a medal at Rio. I have been working hard and strictly following what my coaches have been telling me, in terms of working on my shortfalls. I’m confident of pulling off a solid performance in Rio.”

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Aug 02, 2016 16:35:10 IST