Narsingh Yadav: 'I kept my focus on training'

Since qualifying for the Olympics in September last, Narsingh Yadav has been in the news more for his feud with two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar over the Olympic quota place than his World championship bronze medal.

Narsingh Yadav at a training camp in SAI Centre, Sonepat, near New Delhi.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Since qualifying for the Olympics in September last, Narsingh Yadav has been in the news more for his feud with two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar over the Olympic quota place than his World championship bronze medal.

Perhaps the tussle was a blessing in disguise for Narsingh as it strengthened his self-belief ahead of the real test he was going to face in the Rio Olympics. It made him realise how badly he needed to win an Olympic medal to silence all who doubted his capability.

The 26-year-old made the right choice. He concentrated on his training and kept all distractions at bay to get over the difficult phase.

“I did not discuss this issue with too many people. I avoided phone calls from mediapersons and kept my focus on training. I knew that this controversy had no meaning for me,” Narsingh told Sportstar.

“The media and some other people had blown it up. However, it (the claim by Sushil for a trial in 74kg freestyle) did not have any basis as wrestlers winning quota places have been going to compete in the Olympics.

“The case went to the court, but I had the self-belief that I had been performing well and would go to the Olympics. So, I kept my focus on my training.”

For Narsingh, the best support came from his family. “My family members stood by me. They said 'you have performed well and earned the quota place, so you will go to the Olympics.’ This boosted my confidence and made me believe that I am the one who will go to Rio,” said the JSW-backed athlete.

Before this, Narsingh’s confidence had received a major boost when he recovered from a series of injuries (following his 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning feat) to reach the peak of his career with a string of consistent performances, which included bronze medals in the Asian Games in 2014 and the Asian championship and the World championship in 2015.

“When an athlete gets injured, it takes time to recover. When I was struggling with injury issues, I remained patient, consulted the doctor and worked on getting fit.

“My concentration on training also helped me get back to form in good time,” said Narsingh. So, does he feel that his confidence and training will take him all the way to the Olympics podium?

“All the wrestlers who have qualified for the Olympics are of the same level. Most of them have won medals in the Olympics or the World championships.

“One needs to train well to beat these wrestlers. I think my training will enable me to beat them and get me a medal,” Narsingh said, with a sense of self-assurance.