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Indian wrestler explains Athens flop

September 13, 2004 16:33 IST

Greco-Roman wrestler Mukesh Khatri, who crashed out in the first round at the Athens Olympics despite undergoing a personalised training stint in USA, blames lack of exposure for his early exit from the multi-sport extravaganza.

Khatri, who was criticised for skipping the national camp and undergoing a month-long training in Colorado Springs, USA, still thinks the stint in America was worth it.

"I tried my best. But a short-term training is not enough. Such stints for a long-term may help," said Khatri, who lost to former and defending world champions to crash out in the first round at Athens.

"We should be sent to only selected world level competitions in a year, then only we can bring the desired results," said Khatri who failed to score even a single point in his two first round bouts in the 55kg class against Gueidar Mamedalievat of Russia and Poland's Bariusz Jaglonski at Athens.

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"We have to lose weight before every competition and that reduces our strength. Moreover, our performances are hardly noticed," the 23-year-old, said explaining how competing in small tournaments affect the Indian grapplers.

Khatri, who went into the Games after having finished sixth in the World Championships in Creteil, France last year, also said that wrestlers in other countries concentrate only on winning a medal.

"But in India we have to worry about everything else besides our game," he said.

Recalling his maiden experience on the world's biggest stage, Khatri said: "I was under tremendous pressure since my first bout was with a former world champion and I was not psychologically prepared to face him."

The Delhi grappler said his next goal would be to perform well in the World Championship and in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

"A lot of attention is given to the wrestlers just before the Olympics but after the Games nobody is even bothered to find out what exactly went wrong with us. For whom do we fight after all?" he asked.

Also read: India at Athens

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