Millennium Post

‘Looking to improve wrestling’s medal tally in Rio’

‘Looking to improve wrestling’s medal tally in Rio’
Satpal, who was on Sunday named for India's third highest civilian award, said he was preparing his pupils for at 3-4 medals in next year's quadrennial extravaganza.

“I am deeply honoured to be named for this award and it gives me an added motivation to work harder on my students, along with my team so that the Indian wrestlers can improve their medal's tally at the Rio Olympics. I am looking at at least 3-4 medals for my wrestlers in 2016,” Satpal said during an interview.

India bagged two medals in wrestling out of an overall tally of six at the 2012 London Olympics with Sushil Kumar winning a silver in men's 66kg freestyle wrestling and Yogeshwar Dutt finishing with a bronze in 60kg category. Associated with producing top wrestlers in the country, the 59-year-old wrestling coach, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1983, said he was confident that one of his students would finish with at least a gold medal in Rio.

"I am sure one of our wrestlers can bag a gold medal in Rio," Satpal, who became the first wrestler to be named for Padma Bhushan, said. Conferred with the title of 'Mahabali' during his playing days, Satpal said while he was expecting nothing less than a gold medal from Sushil, he would want the likes of Amit Kumar and Bajrang, besides Yogeshwar, also to make it to the podium in Rio.

“I have got this award only because of my students, which includes names like Sushil, Yogeshwar, Amit, Bajrang and so many others and I would not leave any stone unturned in preparing them for podium finish in 2016 Olympic Games,” Satpal, a 1982 Asian Games gold medallist and 1974 bronze medallist, said.

The coach, who is also the father-in-law of India's only double Olympic individual medallist, however, said he felt bad for Sushil after he was being ignored for the award. “Had Sushil also got it, it would have been an icing on the cake. But Government has its own policy, so I don't want to go further into it,” he steered clear of making any controversial statement.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had recommended Sushil's name to the sports ministry for Padma Bhushan, but when the final list was put up on Sunday, the two-time Olympic medallist was not there.
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