Wrestling has been one of India’s strongest sports traditionally, and Indian wrestlers have been making a name in the sport in the last decade, winning the country medals at the Olympics in both 2008 and 2012.
The 2016 Rio Olympics will feature a five-member strong Indian contingent in the men’s section. Though two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar won’t be part of the team, the wrestlers going to Brazil have shown through their past performances that they are more than capable of winning medals.
From akhadas in the countryside to mainstream tournaments, including a Professional Wrestling League, the sport has come a long way. We take a look at the 5 wrestlers part of India’s men’s contingent at Rio 2016 –
Narsingh Yadav (74 kg)
The Mumbai-born grappler has faced a baptism of fire going into Rio 2016, having had to overcome a series of issues to take his hard-earned spot.
Having qualified for the 74 kg category at the Olympics, Narsingh’s place was under threat from the hero of the previous two Olympics, Sushil Kumar, who was also looking to participate in the 74 kg category. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) ruled in Yadav’s favour, picking him to represent India at Rio 2016.
Following that, a doping scandal emerged, stating Yadav had tested positive for a banned substance, putting his place at the Olympics in danger. However, he was then cleared of all charges as he was a victim of sabotage, clearing his path to go to the Olympics.
Having won Bronze at the World Wrestling Championships in 2015 and Gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the JSW Sports Excellence Program wrestler will be a prime medal candidate at Rio 2016. He has overcome a lot of hurdles to be able to represent the nation at the biggest stage.
The only wrestler to stay unbeaten at the 2015 Pro-Wrestling League, he will surely give his all to win a medal for the country.