The freestyle wrestling events of the ongoing Individual World Cup in Serbia are all set to kick off on Wednesday (December 16) and the Indian squad for the event left for Belgrade on Monday (December 14).
While top Indian wrestlers like Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are skipping the competition, as countries like United States of America, Japan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Cuba have refused to send their wrestlers due to the pandemic, Narsingh Yadav is viewing this contest as a platform to gain his recognition back.
The 31-year-old is returning to the mat after serving a four-year ban. He is not even the favourite to make it to the Tokyo Olympics in this 74 Kg freestyle category. Jitender Kumar and two-time Olympic medalist Sushik Kumar are far ahead of Narsingh in the pecking order. But Narsingh, who won Bronze at the 2015 World Championships, isn’t giving up hope at all.
“I’m not worried at all. If anything, I’m really happy to be competing again and getting a chance to test myself. There’s no greater joy than testing yourself against the best wrestlers.” Narsingh Yadav was quoted as saying by ESPN.
“In my mind, I think my level has not changed. But it’s true that many years have passed since I competed. In one way, it’s a big thing for me just to compete but I also know that if I do well, it will give me a big boost (to the hope of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics). That’s why this is a very important tournament for me,” he explained.
His return to action did have a slight hurdle though. Narsingh was tested positive for COVID-19 just days after being announced in the squad for the tournament. However, he was tested negative once again last Friday and was subsequently cleared to participate.
“I was only slightly unwell. I’ve trained and competed with far more severe illnesses and injuries in the past. In fact, I was training on the day I got the test done. But because I had symptoms I had to get tested. And three days after my test, I returned a negative test. Right now I’m training back at a 100 percent,” he revealed.