All geared up for the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Amit Kumar confessed had he been conferred with Arjuna award it would have given him added motivation to go for a podium finish at the multi-sport event, commencing on Friday at Incheon.
Wrestling Federation of India had recommended Amit for this year's Arjuna award but he was not considered by the selection panel as it was reported that his name was in the list of athletes sanctioned by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
"You do feel sad when you miss out on an honour like Arjuna award that too because of mistaken identity for a doping offence. I missed out as another athlete bearing the same name as mine was found to be a dope offender. It's extremely unfortunate," Amit said.
"Had I won the Arjuna award, it would have given me extra motivation to do well at the Asian Games," Amit, who competes in 57kg freestyle category, said.
The wrestling competition at the Asiad Games will begin from September 27 and the Indian wrestling contingent is scheduled to leave for Incheon on Sunday night.
Amit, who has won a silver at the World Wrestling Championships last year at Budapest, said he will be looking to bag nothing less than a gold at the South Korean city to cap off the year on a high.
"I won a gold at Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Am confident of doing well at Asiad as well. Although it is not going to be easy but I am aiming for a gold.
"Asian Games is this year's last major tournament and I want to sign off on a high. The qualifications for the 2016 Rio Olympics would start next year, so it is important to end 2014 on a positive note. It will help in preparing for the gruelling year ahead," said Amit.
Hailing from Nahri Village in Sonepat, 20-year-old said the grapplers from Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan rely more on their speed and it will be a real challenge.
"I would be up against some of the medal winners at the Asiad. The wrestlers from Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Iran would be very difficult to tackle. But I have been preparing well and working hard, so I'm confident of negating the challenge from them," said a confident Amit.
Youngest wrestler ever to have represented India at the Olympics when he went to 2012 London Games, Amit said he was working on his stamina.
"Asian Games would be much tougher with Japanese and Koreans relying more on their speed. I have tried to prepare accordingly and have worked a lot on my stamina and speed," the talented youngster revealed.
Stating that the presence of Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt during the preparatory camp at Sonepat was a great help, Amit said, "Yogeshwar's presence and his inputs have been a huge motivation for all of us."
He, however, admitted that double-Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was duly missed.
"I missed Sushil bhai a lot. His presence would have proved extremely beneficial. Some of his inputs can make a lot of difference," concluded Amit.