Was keen to win medal in Wrestling World Championships: Narsingh Yadav
Putting the onus squarely on the wrestling authorities whether he or star grappler Sushil Kumar should fly to the Rio Olympics after winning a quota place at the recent World Championships, Narsingh Yadav on Wednesday said he was very keen to win the bronze medal in Las Vegas.
Mumbai: Putting the onus squarely on the wrestling authorities whether he or star grappler Sushil Kumar should fly to the Rio Olympics after winning a quota place at the recent World Championships, Narsingh Yadav on Wednesday said he was very keen to win the bronze medal in Las Vegas.
"I was very keen to win a medal in the World Championships (in USA). Now it's upto the federation (WFI) to decide whether I should be sent to the Rio Olympics. But thus far in history only the person who had clinched the quota berth has been sent," said the 26-year-old Yadav, who bagged the bronze in the Vegas Worlds in spectacular style, here.
A raging debate has started whether Yadav, a Deputy Superintendent in the Maharashtra Police and supported by JSW, or two-time Olympic medalist (bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012), Sushil, should represent the country in the 74kg category at next year's Rio Games after the former's brilliant come-from-behind win in the USA to nail the quota berth in this weight class for the country.
Yadav was trailing France's Chechen-born Zelimkhan Khaddjiev 4-12 with less than a minute to go in their bronze play-off when he stunned his opponent by holding his head and flipping Khadjiev over his shoulder like a rag doll on his back before pinning him down for a victory by fall.
Recalling the bout, after watching the replay of the end moments on a giant screen behind him with the reporters, Yadav said that it was his only chance to clinch the bout and the medal after trailing by such a big margin.
"I led 4-0 initially, but then was down 4-12 and knew that my only chance was to win by a fall. I had used this technique in 2013 at the Colorado Springs (in USA where this time too the grapplers trained for the World Championships) to win a bout. It's called 'dhak' in mud wrestling and I have done mud wrestling in my formative years," said Yadav.
"It wasn't the ideal situation to be in. I controlled the pace and picked up points in the first round. In the second my opponent put me under pressure to pick up points quickly, but I was confident of my own skills and just went for the 'dhak'. I am happy to win the medal after such a dramatic match," he said.
"I had lost by a narrow margin in the semi finals and knew at that point (when trailing 4-12) I have to use the technique on my own as the only way to win at that stage was by a fall," said Yadav, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and bronze winner at the Asian Championships and the Incheon Asian Games last year - all secured in the 74kg class.
Yadav said he was congratulated by Sushil after his bronze medal win, but was annoyed when asked whether he was keen to fight a bout against Sushil to decide who will go to Rio.
"Yes, Sushil called me and congratulated me. But I am surprised why the media is harping Sushil, Sushil when a world championship medal has come the nation's way and we should be celebrating it. That's for the future, to be discussed only later. It's a big medal for me, but media is constantly asking me about who will be sent to Rio, I don't understand this."
Yadav said the fortnight-long training stint he had with all the other countries' wrestlers in USA ahead of the Worlds enabled him to guage the opponents' strong and weak points.
"The 15-day training camp organised by the World Championship host at the Colorado Springs was very helpful as it helped me practice with the other wrestlers. I could find out about their strengths and weaknesses. They, too, would have found out about mine," he said.
"I had taken part in the 2012 London Olympics when I was not very experienced and did not do well. I had prepared well for this World Championship and was eager to win a medal and qualify for the Rio Games. I now want to do well in Rio and win a medal there, but I leave it to the Federation (WFI)," he added.
"This was perhaps my last chance to make an impression. I have won medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but winning a medal at a platform like the World Championship is something special. You get a lot of confidence from such an effort."
He also welcomed the reported plans of WFI to introduce IPL-style league in wrestling.
"It's a very good move. People will know about rhe rules of the game, like they have now come to know about kabaddi after the Pro Kabaddi League, and players will also be financially rewarded. Except cricket, people don't know about the rules of other sports."