A day after Narsingh Yadav was exonerated by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), the 74 kg grappler shifted his training base back to the wrestling halls of the Sports Authority of India complex in Mumbai. It is here that the 26-year-old — after adopting several safety measures with regard to his diet — has resumed training in an attempt to make up for lost time. Excerpts from an interview with the Indian Express.
What is your plan in terms of preparation?
The plan is to train as hard and train smart. I will be doing a fair bit of technical training but at the same time I will be working on my strength and conditioning. I will also be working with a strength and conditioning coach that JSW have provided me with. It is important that my body is in its best shape for Rio and I believe that at my fittest, I have a good chance to trouble the best wrestlers in my category.
What are the areas of training require extra focus?
At the Olympics, you have to be ready to be on the mat for six bouts in the space of 12-15 hours if you want to really challenge for a medal. My training will revolve more around increasing speed and also the intensity of my attacks. I want to be swift throughout the bout. It was an area that was a bit of a problem for me earlier on but since the World Championship, I have managed to work on that. I have looked at the final list of participants and I am studying each of them closely. The Olympics will only have the best wrestlers in the world competing and you need to have multiple plans for each of them if you want to succeed and that is what I am working on in practice.
A lot has happened in the past month that has kept you away from proper training sessions. Mentally, how do you tune your mind?
The last 10-12 days have definitely been very tough. It was a very draining experience and mentally I was not in a good place at all. However, I ensured that I did not desert my practice entirely. I was training almost everyday even though it was for just one session. But now, I have to ensure that I try to make up for lost time as best as I can. The goal of proving myself at the Olympics is something that is driving me everyday. London was not a very good experience and I want to show everyone that I belong at the highest level. All these things are great motivators.
You received a lot of support in these past few weeks. But did you think that things may not work in your favour?
I was always convinced that things would go my way because I had done nothing wrong. I was completely innocent and I had enough faith in the system. However, yes there were a few days when I doubted whether it was all just going to go wrong. Mentally it was very stressful and with the Olympics not even a month away, the pressure was immense but I am glad it is now all okay.
What are the measures you’ve taken now to ensure your training remains undisturbed?
I have become much more careful about what I eat and when I eat it. The experience that I had teaches you a lot and I am glad that I have a chance to put that to practice. Also, I am training in Mumbai. It is a place where I grew up, started wrestling and I am comfortable here. My mind is at peace. I can practice getting better and stronger.