Road to Rio: Wrestler Narsingh Yadav carries the added weight of expectation

Name: Narsingh Yadav
Age: 26
Discipline: Wrestling
Category: Men’s 74 kg freestyle
Qualification: Bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas
Strengths: Faster than most Indian wrestlers even below his weight category, Yadav is quick on his feet and can take even his strongest opponent by surprise.
Past Olympic performance: Lost opening bout against Matt Gentry of Canada at 2012 London Olympics
Past record: Gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
– Silver medal at the 2011 Commonwealth Championship
– Bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships
– Bronze medal at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships
Wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav’s road to the Rio hasn’t been a smooth one, not because of his performance on the mat, but because of the controversies off it. Although it was Yadav who won won the Olympics berth for India, he had to fight fellow wrestler Sushil Kumar for a place in the coveted games.
A huge off-field fight brewed up with Kumar — who is India’s most successful individual Olympian with two medals (a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and a silver at the 2012 Olympic Games) — also staking claim for an Olympics berth owing to his past record and insisted that a trial be held to determine who should ultimately represent India at Rio. While the matter was dragged by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and Delhi High Court, Yadav ultimately came out on top and the wrestler hailing from Haryana will now represent India in the men’s 74 kg freestyle wrestling in Rio.
After the much publicised court ruling, Yadav will have the added weight of expectation on his shoulders. But the Commonwealth gold-medalist has a steady record in his own right, with a bronze at the Asian and World Championships last year. He’s had a good time in the last couple of years, finishing on the podium in every major competition which should give him confidence heading into the games. Hailed by many as the future of Indian wrestling, he will be keen to prove a point with his performance at Rio.