World Wrestling Championships: After Vegas bronze, Narsingh Yadav eyes Rio
Hours after winning India's only medal at this year's event, Mumbai-based grappler promises fellow wrestler Sandeep Yadav to win medal at Rio Olympics
Mumbai lad Narsingh Yadav might have become the only wrestler from India to win a medal at the just-concluded 2015 World Wrestling Championships, but he is far from satisfied with his bronze medal finish, according to fellow wrestler Sandeep Tulsi Yadav.
Narsingh Yadav (right) stands on the podium at Las Vegas' Orleans Arena after winning the bronze medal
"When I spoke to him before he got on the flight back to India, he told me, 'I was a gold medal contender at Las Vegas (where the World Championships were held). But I made a few errors which I will rectify when I get back and I will definitely win an Olympics medal in Rio,'" revealed Sandeep, who is Narsingh's roommate at Sports Authority of India's Kandivli campus.
At Las Vegas' Orleans Arena, Narsingh breezed into the semi-finals by beating Israel's Hanoc Rachamin 14-2, Turkey's Soner Demirtas 4-3 and Cuba's Livan Lopez Azcuy 16-5. The 26-year-old was unlucky to lose his semi-final to Unurbat Purevjav of Mongolia by virtue of his rival earning the last point in a 4-4 draw.
The grappler then won his bronze medal play-off 12-8 against France's Zelimkhan Khadjiev to earn India a Rio Olympics qualification berth in the 74-kg weight class. While the Mumbai-based grappler may have earned the spot, he will face a stiff challenge from double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who switched to the weight class in 2014 after wrestling's world body FILA rejigged weight classes, for a chance to compete under the national flag at Rio.
While Narsingh made it to the World Championships after Sushil pulled out from the selection trials due to an injury, much has been made of the two wrestlers' so-called rivalry. However, Sandeep said that Sushil's switch had not put any sort of pressure on Narsingh.
"Narsingh has never taken any pressure of any kind. He just puts in his best in training and wants to be the best in his weight class. He doesn't focus on who else is there (in his category), he just wants to do his best," said Sandeep, who himself won a World Championship bronze medal at Budapest two years ago.
Sandeep also revealed that Narsingh's medal at Las Vegas was a result of him making small tweaks to his training and diet. "He is constantly making small tweaks to his training and his diet. Earlier, he used to train for three hours twice a day — morning and evening. Now, he trains for up to five hours a day.
Be it a big event or a small one, he trains with the same intensity. "He recently met a dietician and made changes to his diet, such as changing his protein supplements," said the 27-year-old.