Even as two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar's hopes of participating at the Rio Olympics came crashing after the Delhi High Court dismissed his plea for a selection trial in the 74kg category, the verdict was celebrated at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Kandivli, where Narsingh Yadav trains.
Sports Authority of India's wrestling coach GS Sangha (left) and his wards are a happy bunch at the SAI Complex in Kandivli yesterday
Coaches and players at SAI yesterday agreed with the court's verdict that any last-minute challenge to the selection could disturb the Narsingh's mental preparation.
SAI's (Kandivli) wrestling coach GS Sangha, who has worked closely with both Sushil and Narsingh said, "Sushil is a star and nobody can take away his achievements but in this case. Narsingh is the right candidate and he deserved to go to Rio.
'Court is right'
"The entire staff, coaches and players are very happy that Narsingh will represent the country at Rio. I completely agree with the court's observation that a last-minute trial could lead to an injury and affect Narsingh's preparation. With the verdict in his favour, now, he (Narsingh) can focus entirely on his training," an elated Sangha told mid-day yesterday.
Sandeep Kate, a junior national wrestler in the 74 kg, who seeks inspiration from Narsingh, says his senior teammate's patience has finally paid off. "This selection trial issue has taken a toll on Narsingh bhaiyya (brother). Sushil Kumar is a sporting icon, but Narsingh is my idol. Despite all that has been going on around him, Narsingh has continued to trained really hard and kept his cool.
"This issue has been stretched too far, but it's good that the decision has come... better late than never. Now, we hope and pray Narsingh returns from Rio with a medal," said 23-year-old Kate. Another SAI Kandivli wrestler Baliram Yadav (24), who fights in the 57kg weight category, said that everyone at SAI is in celebratory mode.
"Like Narsingh, everybody at SAI were eagerly waiting for the verdict, and now that Narsingh has go the court's green signal, we are overjoyed. Narsingh is the hero of our SAI centre," said Baliram.