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Monday, June 27, 2022

A visit to Narsingh Yadav’s backyard

Bharat Yadav, Narsingh Yadav's first ever coach, explains how he was so focused on Olympics that he even declined any marriage proposals.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai |
Updated: July 26, 2016 12:01:00 pm
narsingh yadav, narsingh yadav dope result, narsingh yadav vs sushil kumar, narsingh vs sushil,narsingh, narsingh yadav dope test, wrestling, rio 2016, rio olympics, olympics, sports In September last year, Narsingh Yadav won the Olympic quota. (Source: Express Photo)

Right outside the gate of the housing society in Goregaon where Narsingh Yadav’s older brother Vinod stays is a blackboard wishing “Pehelwan Narsingh P Yadav” the very best. This housing society is Narsingh’s second home when he is in this part of the world.

There are a set of wrestlers wandering about in the vicinity. Curiously, this muscular bunch claim they haven’t heard about Narsingh, one of them almost snarling when asked about the 74 kilogram category wrestler. On a day when it was confirmed that Narsingh had tested positive for Metadienone, an anabolic steroid, one wonders if the blackboard will continue to remain a permanent fixture at the entrance. Narsingh is scheduled to appear for another hearing at the National Anti-Doping Agency’s office in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The security guard’s face would light up when you ask for Narsingh or his elder sibling’s whereabouts. But as the news of Narsingh’s positive dope test was confirmed, the security personnel understandably took a firmer stand.
“He is not at home today. He will be here only in the night,” a guard says.

Also Read | Why would I dope so close to the Rio Olympics? asks Narsingh

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The pehelwans strolling outside the front gates too deny any knowledge of Vinod’s whereabouts.

Three kilometres away, in Jogeshwari, is akhada where Narsingh took the first steps in wrestling. It’s a small room essentially, that is located behind a branch of a prominent nationalised bank. Shopkeepers don’t seem to know where this akhada is, so it takes a while to locate it. One stumbles upon the sight of a bright red-orange board that reads “Sarvajanak Vyamshala.”

WATCH VIDEO: What Happens In The Narsingh Yadav Controversy Now?

 

The establishment is closed currently, but its proprietor stays close by.

Also Read | Metadienone, the outdated drug that makes Narsingh Yadav look ‘foolish’

It is past noon and Bharat Yadav lies seemingly peacefully on his cot outside his chawl. He is Narsingh’s first-ever coach. Actually, Bharat Pehelwan was not in deep sleep. The faintest whisper of ‘Pehalwaniji’ awakens him.

“Come, come,” he says, lifting himself up from the cot. There’s a certain peculiarity in the tone he uses when he greets you. It’s almost to say that ‘I knew you would come and I know why you are here.’

Surely enough, before being asked, he announces. “Sab jhoot hai. Narsingh ke saath apradh ho raha hai,” he asserts, hinting at the possibility of a conspiracy to deny his 26-year-old ward the chance to attend his second Olympic Games. “Lekin abhi hum kya kar sakthe hai?

Also Read | India will keep quota in 74kg category: UWW

Bharat pehelwan though is more content with revisiting his memories of meeting a 10-year-old Narsingh for the first time. “You could tell from then itself that he was a very hard worker. Everything he did, he put his mind to it. And it was all done very innocently,” he recalls.

He rubbishes any questions raised about Narsingh’s integrity. “He is honest. He loves drinking milk and having badaam. He did the right things to become what he has today,” he adds.

Bharat pehelwan explains how his former ward was so focused on the Olympics that he even declined any marriage proposals. “He’d get offers from all over the place. Some brought by his friends, some from his family. But he stood firm. He didn’t want any distractions.”

Narsingh regularly visits the akhada when he’s in the city. “Parents come to me with their kids and say ‘make him like Narsingh’.”

If Narsingh pehelwan does not go to Rio, one wonders if parents will continue to put in similar requests to Bharat pehelwan when they enroll their children.

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