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Can Yogeshwar Dutt deliver a gold medal for India?

August 20, 2016 20:33 IST

IMAGE: Yogeshwar Dutt celebrates after winning the final against Tajikistan's Zalimkhan Yusupov. Photograph: PTI.

Widely expected to clinch one last medal for India at the Rio Games, London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt is trying hard not to let the Narsingh Yadav episode affect him ahead of the men's 65kg freestyle event on Sunday.

A day after an unassuming Sakshi Malik became the heartthrob of the nation by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she opened India's tally with a bronze, doping cloud began to haunt the grapplers again as Narsingh was slapped with a four-year ban for testing positive for banned substance.

Narsingh was handed a ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) for flunking a dope test after WADA challenged the clean chit given to him by NADA.

"Ab kya karein sab bura ho raha hai apne saath (What do we do? Nothing is going our way)," men's freestyle coach Jagminder Singh told PTI, referring to Narsingh's ban.

"Everyone in the team is in a shock, and we are trying our best that it does not affect Yogeshwar. He is our last medal hope. We just pray that he gets a good draw," he added.

Yogeshwar has been very vocal in his support for Narsingh throughout. In fact, Yogeshwar was staying in the same building at the Games Village as Narsingh and has witnessed all that had taken place in the last couple of days.

Narsingh was evicted from the Olympics Village on Friday as the ban meant his accreditation and entry was cancelled, and he had to be shifted to a hotel.

Yogeshwar's journey to securing an Olympic quota place hasn't been very smooth. Having recovered from three surgeries in 2015, he managed to book a ticket to Rio this year.

Now expectations are high and he himself wants to bid adieu to the wrestling arena with a second straight medal at the Olympics.

Playing in his fourth and, in all probability, his last Olympics, the 33-year-old will have his task cut out when he faces the world champion Frank Chamizo of Italy and Russia's Soslan Ramonov in his event on Sunday.

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