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Back to his alma mater, wrestler Narsingh Yadav whisked away to secure environment

Narsingh Yadav's regular dormitory room is vacant, and those living around don’t know where he stays now.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai |
Updated: August 3, 2016 1:16:30 pm
Narsingh Yadav, Narsingh Yadav Rio Olympics, Narsingh Yadav NADA verdict, Narsingh Yadav Rio verdict, Narsingh Yadav doping, Narsingh Yadav dope case, Sports News, Sports Narsingh Yadav was exonerated by the NADA panel on Monday. (Source: PTI)

It was back to business at the wrestling hall at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Kandivali centre. The celebrations of the previous day, when wrestler Narsingh Yadav was exonerated by a hearing panel after a failed dope test, had been put aside. The wrestlers were back on the mat training.

Narsingh was still in Delhi when the regulars at this SAI centre distributed sweets and danced when the news broke that Narsingh had escaped a ban. On Tuesday, Narsingh was at the Kandivali centre but no one knew about his whereabouts. It is learnt that the wrestler is in a secure room to which only Sandeep Yadav, his sparring partner who had also tested positive for the same anabolic steroid, and a few trusted aides are being allowed.

Narsingh and his inner circle are being vigilant about what he eats and drinks and everything he consumes is closely monitored to ensure that no contamination takes place. It is a question of being once bitten twice shy because Narsingh got off the hook only because he could convince the NADA panel that the water he consumed at the SAI centre in Sonepat had been contaminated with steroids.

Narsingh’s regular dormitory room is vacant, and those living around don’t know where he stays now. Rather, they aren’t allowed to know. “Only Narsingh, his training partner Sandeep, a handful of other wrestlers and a few coaches are allowed to enter the area where he is right now,” explains Jagmal Singh, the assistant national coach, and his mentor. In secrecy, Jagmal asserts, the group finds a sense of security. A specialised cook – a junior wrestler – has been given the responsibility of preparing food for the 74 kilogram wrestler. “We’ve also ordered a fresh batch of sealed bottled water exclusively for Narsingh,” says Jagmal.

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The grappler had tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid, methandienone.

“This is his home. He grew up here, and he’s comfortable here. He also has his family close by, and they’ll be instrumental in giving him morale support whenever he needs it,” Jagmal says. There’s a sense of sympathy as well in the willingness of all those in the know of Narsingh’s whereabouts to safeguard his secret. They still shudder when they think about what Narsingh had to go through.

Narsingh is still waiting the nod to travel to Rio – the chef de mission of India has already begun the procedures of applying for his accreditation and the Wrestling Federation of India is leaving no stone unturned to ensure he travels for the Olympics.

Narsingh, according to Sandeep, is determined than ever before to win a medal at the Rio Games. “He’s aware of the support he’s got from the public. Even the Prime Minister. He tells me, ‘medal ke bina waapas aaonga, toh mooh dikhana layak nahi rahega’,” Sandeep says.

Sandeep says that his positive test didn’t have as big an impact because he was not headed to the Rio Games. “It made no difference to me because I wasn’t in the running for the Olympics. And that’s why Narsingh was concerned about me. ‘Yaar, tujhe kyun kheecha hai isme?” he remembers his partner asking. Sandeep recalls an incident involving 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt during a training camp in Bulgaria a few months ago. The person tasked with manning Dutt’s water and food supplements left for a brief moment. “When he came back, Yogeshwar went up to him and asked him to throw away the water and food,” Sandeep recalls. The idea behind shielding Narsingh from the outside world also has to do with the fact that the wrestler has to clear his mind and regroup.

“We’ve lost time, but the motive now is to keep him focused. Getting an Olympic medal is all he has to think about now,” Jagmal adds. Officials at the SAI campus have made special arrangements to ensure all equipment for training is available with Narsingh. After all, Narsingh has been the centre’s favourite sons for many years.

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