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'I should go for the Olympics, not Sushil'

February 08, 2016 12:41 IST

'I didn't go for the World Championships to see someone else take my place at the Olympics.'

narsingh yadav

IMAGE: Narsingh Yadav after winning gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI.

Coming Up: The biggest fight in recent Indian wrestling. Two time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar (bronze in 2008; silver in 2012) versus the 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Narsingh Pancham Yadav.

The two heavyweights are set to clash in the 74 kg category to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Narsingh, who has booked India's berth by winning a medal in the World Championships, cries foul, citing bias against him and says only he should be going to Rio because he has earned the berth by winning a medal at the World Championships.

Aruneel Sadadekar/Rediff.com spoke exclusively with Narsingh Yadav as the Jogeshwari, north-west Mumbai, resident, puts in the hard work in Sonepat to make it for the biggest sporting event on the planet in August.

Sushil Kumar says he is ready to fight you to qualify for Rio.

I am not scared of fighting him. But why should I face him in the first place when it is me who earned the berth by bagging a medal at the World Championships?

He has been injured for a long time and is just making a comeback.

If you look at the history of Indian sport, only the athlete who books the berth goes for that event.

So, it is me, and not Sushil, who should fight in Rio.

sushil kumar

IMAGE: Sushil Kumar celebrates his gold in the 66 kg at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI

Sushil is a two-time Olympic medalist. Will it be wise to exclude him?

So what? He used to fight in the 66 kg category where the competition is not that difficult. I have experience of competing in the 74 kg category.

I respect him for what he has achieved for the country, but why should I let my career get ruined if one fine day he decides to change his weight category?

Sushil hasn't won much in this weight category. I won a bronze in the Asian Games in Incheon and followed it up with a bronze at the World Championships.

He was absent from the Pro Wrestling League as well. I was the top performer in the event.

With experience, I have learnt to bring down these heavy wrestlers.

Sushil has experience on his side of winning medals in big events. You still have age on your side. You are only 26.

And he is 32. I am at the peak of my physical prowess. I am not battling any injury either (Sushil Kumar had opted out of the World Championships due to a shoulder injury).

I think this is my best chance to win a medal at the Olympics.

Why should I let go off this golden chance to realise my dream?

narsingh yadav

IMAGE: Narsingh Yadav at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas where he won a bronze medal in the 74 kg weight category. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

There are chances you will have to fight Sushil to earn a berth for the Olympics.

I have already earned it (a berth at Rio). I feel politics should be kept away from sports.

I know there will be a bias towards him, but it is me who has been fighting in this weight category since the start.

He is a champion wrestler, but then why should I suffer? I have my own supporters who know and have faith in what I can achieve at the Olympics.

How can you change your bronze at the World Championships to a silver or gold at the Olympics?

The bronze has given me confidence that I can win gold at the Olympics.

In the last one year, my coach Jagmal Singh and I are trying to improve my form, technique and stamina. I am very much satisfied with my development.

I have been staying in the national camp at Sonepat and training for six hours a day.

I follow a strict training regime -- three hours in the morning and three in the evening followed by a professional diet.

Frankly, there isn't much difference when it comes to wrestling at the world level.

I have the experience and I am in top form.

All this for someone else to go at my expense? Isn't it unfair?

I didn't go for the World Championships to see someone else take my place at the Olympics.

Aruneel Sadadekar / Rediff.com
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