Yandro Quintana says that he has seen plenty of growth and improvement in India’s wrestling. The 2004 Athens Games freestyle class Olympic champion believes that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the country bag plenty of limelight and may even win three or four medals in wrestling at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.
Quintana is also a two-time silver medallist in World Championships and has even been a four-time Pan American champion. He has even claimed that Indian wrestling has undergone tremendous strides since he was active and that the sport is much more competitive now.
“There is a lot of difference. When I wrestled, it (Indian wrestling) was very small. Now, there are several good athletes at the elite level and they are winning international medals. I have been staying in India for the last three-four years. Wrestling has changed so much,” Quintana told Sportstar on the sidelines of the ongoing National Championships in India.
Quintana has spent the last few years in India working as the women’s head coach at JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport in Vijayanagar. As such, he has certainly been exposed to plenty of Indian wrestling, and more importantly, at the grass roots level, to make a fair assessment. He also claimed that exposure to wrestlers from other countries will also help improve levels even further.
“But the wrestlers have to compete not just inside but outside (the country), because there are many good wrestlers in other countries. I think exposure to wrestlers from other countries will help a lot.
“If India continues the good work, then there is a 100 percent chance that good results will come. Not just one or two, but Indian wrestlers will win more medals, possibly three or four, in the (Paris) Olympics,” he added.
Quintana then reserved special praise for the current generation of wrestlers who have been shining the light on the biggest stages. He mentioned Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia, Antim Panghal, and Vinesh Phogat as the biggest superstars in the country and thinks that they have made good progress and are still capable of medalling at the Olympics.