Rio 2016: Indian Judoku Avtar Singh qualifies It is a sure fact now that by the hour, India’s Olympic contingent keeps on increasing. Top Indian judoku and South Asian Games gold medalist Avtar Singh has finally qualified for the Rio Olympic Games to be held in August 2016 in the under 90 kg weight category. This fabulous news was made available to the public by the national federation on last Saturday.
Rio 2016: Indian Judoku Avtar Singh qualifies
According to the list released by the International Judo Federation, it’s the continental quota under which Avtar has qualified, as stated by President of Judo Federation of India, Mr. Mukesh Kumar. Avtar hails from Gurdaspur in Punjab and before booking his ticket for Olympics, he worked (and currently does too) for the Punjab Armed Police.
In an interview, he claimed that he isn’t nervous about doing well on perhaps, the biggest stage for sports worldwide. He also said, “I didn’t expect this (being selected for Olympics). It doesn’t matter if I lose or win, I know I have trained hard and I shall give my 100 percent. I promise to do well for the sake of my country and I just want to give my best”.
On Monday, the International Judo Federation (IJF) had communicated Avtar’s qualifications to the Judo Federation of India (JFI). It is known now that he is one of the only two Asian judokas in the under 90 kg category to secure the continental quota, as aforementioned, for the Rio Games.
As it turned out, Avtar wasn’t really kidding about the “I didn’t expect this” part of his interview. Born on 3rd of April, 1992, Avtar was raised in Kothe Ghurala village where he spent most of his time working on the farms. As he grew, he lacked not only financial support, but an organizational support as well. His parents cashed out their fixed deposits so as to book a ticket to the Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey (April 2016) for Avtar. He told that it was extremely difficult (to qualify) and the support from the Federation (JFI) was on and off for him- sometimes they did while sometimes they didn’t. Besides his parents, Avtar got a humongous amount of support from his colleagues, JSW Sports, his coach Yashpal Solanki along with a few local coaches in his hometown, Gurdaspur.
He proudly represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland. He was unluckily defeated in the men’s middleweight event by the silver medalist in the event, Matthew Purssey of Scotland itself, in the round of 16. Another shocking revelation about his career shows that he took part in just six events from 2015 until May 2016. These problems he faced were because of the Indian Federation and in getting funds which forbade him in travelling to subsequent tournaments eventually. At the South Asian Games (2016) held in India, Avtar Singh finally took part in the 90 kg category. Defeating Md Jahangir Alam of Bangladesh and Sanjay Maharjan of Nepal, he was able to reach the final stage. He stood against Mohammad Kakar of Afghanistan where he defeated him shockingly within 49 seconds and won the gold medal. Later at the Asian Judo Championships (in Tashkent, Uzbekistan 2016), he reached the semi finals where he lost to Komronshokh Ustopiriyon from Tajikistan. Later he defeated Saeed Moradi from Iran (during repcharge round) and finally lost bout to Chinese judoka Xunzhao Cheng to finally bag the 6th position.
His results from the 2016 participations have made his current world ranking from 200th up to 79 (with a total of 182 points), which made him high enough to bag the Asian continental qualification quota.
Avtar wants to emulate his only role model, the legendary Indian runner Milkha Singh, in making his country proud. Only time will tell if he does…