Yogshwar Dutt is one of the top male wrestle of India, who has assumed celebrity status due to his consistent performance in freestyle wrestling in many international sports events and championships.
He has won a Bronze medal in the Olympics, Gold medal in two successive Commonwealth Games, Gold medal in Asian games and several Gold medals in international championships. His contributions in the sports of wrestling have been recognized by the Government of India and he has been honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2012 and Padam Shri Award in 2013.
Yogeshwar Dutt was born on 2 November 1982 in a remote village of Bhainswal Kalan in Sonipat district of Haryana state. His father, Rammeher Dutt, was a farmer and his mother Sushila devi, a homemaker. He was interested in wrestling since childhood and began practising at the young age of eight. His village in Haryana had a tradition of wrestling and Yogeshwar learned the techniques of Indian wrestling in the ‘akharas’ or wrestling rings of his village. Dutt considers Balraj Pehlwan, the most acclaimed Indian wrestler and who was from his native village, as his inspiration in wrestling. He got trained under the guidance of coach Ramphal.
Yogeshwar Dutt came into limelight with the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2003, which was held in London. He won a Gold medal in the 55 kg Freestyle category. In the next Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2005, which was held in Cape Town, he won two medals; Gold medal in the 60 kg Freestyle category, as well as a Silver medal in the 60 kg Greco-Roman category. He repeated the exact same feat of a Gold and Bronze medal in 2007 London Commonwealth championship.
After these achievements, he never looked back and won medals at every Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic Games held subsequently.
2006 Asian Games
In 2006, at the 15th Asian Games at Doha, Yogeshwar won the Bronze medal in freestyle wrestling in the 60 kilogram category. He was suffering from a knee injury and had lost his father recently, yet he overcame his physical and emotional pain, to win the medal for India.
2010 Commonwealth Games
In 2010, at the Delhi Commonwealth Games he beat well-known wrestlers from Australia, South America and England in the 60 kilogram category to win the Gold medal. This again was despite a serious knee injury. His determination and skills made him win all his bouts and bring home the Gold.
2012 Summer Olympics
At the 2012 London Olympics, Yogeshwar Dutt won a Bronze medal in the Men’s freestyle 60 kg category. With this, he became the third Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal after K. D. Jadhav (in 1952) and Sushil Kumar (in 2008 and 2012).
2014 Commonwealth Games
At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Yogeshwar Dutt won the Gold medal in the men’s 65 kg freestyle category.
He used his trademark Fitele (leg twisting) technique, which had won him many bouts in the past; to great effect against his opponents.
2014 Asian Games
At the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Yogeshwar Dutt won the Gold medal in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling category.
Awards and Recognition
Besides the numerous medals won by Yogeshwar, as mentioned above; he has also received numerous awards and recognition by several public bodies. Some of the most noteworthy ones are listed below:
- Awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2012 by the Government of India for winning the Bronze medal at 2012 London Olympic.
- ₹10 million (US$160,000) cash reward from the Haryana Government.
- Awarded Padma Shri Award in 2013 by the Government of India. This award is the fourth highest civilian award conferred by the Indian government.
Inspirational Quotes by Yogeshwar Dutt
“Wrestling is a sport, where a lot of decisions are very close and decided in the final seconds of the bout.”
“Haryana has a strong wrestling culture coupled with robust infrastructure and that is why we keep churning out new talents.”
Yogeshwar Dutt not only brought laurels to India in wrestling, but he popularized the sports in India again. Although India had been a land of wrestlers, there was a dearth of wrestlers who could win medals at international events. His London Olympic Bronze medal has been upgraded to Silver.
Yogeshwar Dutt has now bid adieu to amateur wrestling and turned Professional. In the Pro Wrestling League (PWL), he is in the Haryana Hammers, which was one of the six teams. He got married in 2017 with Sheetal and set a good example for the youth by refusing to take any dowry. He is indeed, a gem of a person and a wrestler par excellence.
Written By: Raj Kumar Hansdah