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With four months to go for RIO 2016 Olympics, an Indian-Australian Vinod Kumar Dahiya, a 30-year-old from Melbourne, has just qualified for the Wrestling’s 66 kg Greek-Roman style.
Vinod who came to Australia from Sonepat in Haryana (India) as an International Student in 2010, got his Australian citizenship in 2015.
In last 6 years he has won 20 medals in Australia in the state, national and international level championships including 6 national championships.
Vinod says, “I am living a hand-to-mouth existence as whatever I earn is spent on rent, food, supplements, gym fees, and shoes … I am practically living with no bank balance.”
He used to work as a courier delivery guy and bouncer on weekends but for the past six months he is out of work.
Even after working 10 hours night shift as a bouncer, Vinod could be seen jogging on the beach at 4.30 am every day.
He takes pride in the fact that because of his constant focus and dedication to wrestling he has not missed a single day.
He shows no regrets on monetary fronts but is often helped by good samaritans.
Vinod is a product of India’s Padamshri Satpal Pehalwaan’s aakhada which has given stalwarts like Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang Puniya, and Pawan Kumar Dabbas.
In this age where sports psychologists are figuring ways to motivate players, Vinod goes to Bollywood for inspiration by watching films such as Chak De! India, Pann Singh Tomar and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
He may be fighting a Pakistani opponent on field but is an ardent fan of Sufi musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
For spiritual wisdom, Vinod looks to Osho Rajneesh’s teachings as it helps him focus on his target.
Vinod, who believes in “focusing on the goal and not worrying unnecessarily about smaller things,” is now counting days to RIO 2016.
With 120 days to go Vinod probably needs more than wishes as he hopes to be the first Indian-Australian to win an Olympic gold medal for his adopted home – Australia!
(Vinod Kumar Dahiya in conversation with Jitarth Jai Bharadawaj)