“It was unbelievable. I have seen the national flag go up at various international competitions, but this time it was very, very special. I was so happy… I knew I had achieved something that would make my countrymen very proud. But I did not know the magnitude of it.”
That was how wrestler Sushil Kumar summed up his emotions after landing a bronze medal in the men’s freestyle 66kg category at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
It was India’s second wrestling medal at the Olympics and the first one since K. D. Jadhav’s feat in Helsinki in 1952.
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No one outside the wrestling fraternity really gave the Indian grapplers a chance to win a medal in the Chinese capital. But Sushil, who had finished 14th at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was quietly confident and performed a miracle at the crunch moment.