WFI keeps comeback door open for Narsingh Yadav

Narsingh Pancham Yadav was handed a four-year ban for failing a dope test by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

AFP

If the Olympic Games  were to be held as scheduled earlier in July-August, Yadav would not have got the chance to compete in them. (File Photo)

If Narsingh Pancham Yadav is aiming for a comeback and wants to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will not stop the tainted grappler, whose four-year ban ends in July this year.

If the Olympic Games  were to be held as scheduled earlier in July-August, Yadav would not have got the chance to compete in them. But now a full year at his disposal after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the Games, he can stake claim in 74kg category in which India is yet to secure a quota.

ALSO READ| Olympics postponement was Vinesh's worst fear

Yadav was handed a four-year ban for failing a dope test by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in August 2016 after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) just hours before his bout was to start in the Rio Olympic Games.

“We will not stop him if he comes to us and says that he wants to compete. We have discussed it. After his ban period is over, he will be eligible for a comeback,” WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.

The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) had accepted his sabotage theory that his drinks were spiked after he tested positive for a banned substance ahead of the Rio Games.

ALSO READ| Bajrang donates salary, calls for postponement of Tokyo Games

Yadav, now 31, had qualified for the Rio Games after wining a bronze medal at the World Championships in Las Vegas in 2015.

However, the celebrated Sushil Kumar, who missed the Olympic qualification event citing an injury, later demanded a trial about against Yadav and even dragged him to the court but his appeal was rejected.

Dramatically, Yadav failed dope tests conducted in June and July and was handed a four-year ban, a day before his opening bout at the Rio Games.

-"I’ve trained hard during ban period, ready for comeback"-

“I always had the belief that if I have not done anything wrong, no wrong will happen with me. The truth always wins. Now you see by God’s grace, I have got this chance again out of nowhere,” Yadav said.

“Somehow, I had this feeling inside me that I will get to compete in Olympics. I don’t know why, but I always had this feeling. I am completely focussed on my comeback and determined to win a medal at the Tokyo Games,” he added.

The WFI said it would be happy have him back despite the past scandal.

-Yadav denies any wrongdoing-

Yadav maintained that he did not do anything wrong. “Why would I be so silly? No one believed me, the government should have done something about it. But now I have got this golden chance. I have done well in 74kg. I have kept an eye on all international wrestlers in my category.

“I know who is applying what technique, I keep watching their videos on Youtube. I am prepared to take them on,” he declared.

“I have not competed but I have been training with dedication. I had qualified (For Rio games) by winning bronze medal at the worlds (2015) with my hard work. I am confident that not only will I qualify for the Olympics but also stand on the podium.”

“Wrestling is my life. I started from scratch and did considerably well in my career, winning medals at all levels. I competed in dangals and will be back on mat soon. Once the ban period is over, I will request WFI to let me try and compete in Olympic qualification events,” he said.

“I also plan to compete at the Nationals.”