Not much has been heard about Sandeep Tulsi Yadav since he won a historic medal (bronze) for India in the Greco-Roman style at the world championship last year. In absence of international competition, and Greco-Roman not featuring at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Sandeep was putting all his energy into preparation for the Incheon Asian Games.He is prepared for back-to-back events, the World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from September 8-14 followed by the Asian Games. But it is the latter that Sandeep is more interested in proving himself at.”For the last one year, I have been preparing for the Asian Games. It is the start of a cycle for me leading up to the Rio Olympics. There will be a number of international events, including Olympic qualifiers. The focus, however, has been the Asian Games because it comes once in four years and it will be a challenge for me to win in a tough field,” Sandeep told MAIL TODAY.The performance at the Asian Games will help him assess where he stands vis–vis the bigger goal – the 2016 Rio Olympics.”If I do well in Incheon, I will know that I can hold my own against the top wrestlers of the world. A medal at the Asian Games is of immense importance. It will not only boost my confidence but will also bring me more recognition,” says the 66kg wrestler, who has been practising in Sonepat.”We know how difficult it is to win a medal in wrestling at the Asian Games. There are wrestlers from Iran, China, Japan and Kazakhstan. One will have to face world and Olympic champions. I know I have the ability to beat them so I do not want to leave anything to chance. I have worked really hard to improve my defence and stamina,” he said.advertisementIn the last one year, Sandeep participated in two invitational international tournaments, and is excited ahead of his maiden multi-disciplinary event.”I had just graduated to the senior category before the Guangzhou Asian Games, and lost in the trials. So this will be the first time I will be part of the team at the Games. I know the pressure that comes with it but I will also get to learn a lot.” The bronze medal at the World Championships brought him fame and gave Greco-Roman wrestling a boost in India.”Over the last year, I have felt very satisfied seeing the push the sport has got. Now we are being touted as medal winners at major international events which is a big change. Earlier, people only spoke of freestyle wrestlers.My medal has raised hopes that we too can win on the bigger stage,” says Sandeep, who has learnt the craft at the Sports Authority of India’s Kandivli complex in Mumbai.His coach Jagmal Singh says his ward can go on to win a gold in Incheon.”Whenever he came to Mumbai during this period, I have put him through very tough training and he has not complained. I have made him work on his attack on the lower body and defence. The competition will be of a very high standard but he loves to fight on the big stage. I expect him to return with a gold medal,” says the coach.