Former world bronze medallist Narsingh Yadav says competing in the men’s 79kg freestyle class, a non-Olympic weight category, in next month’s Senior Asian Wrestling Championship in Almaty, will be an advantage as it will improve his match fitness.
“It might be a different category but the more I compete, the better, as there is still hope of making the cut for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Yadav told IANS a day after being picked in the Indian team for the Almaty competition.
Last week, Yadav, 31, couldn’t make the cut in the highly competitive 74kg class, an Olympic weight category, in which Sandeep Singh of Punjab was selected for Almaty.
Sandeep had earlier defeated Yadav in the National Wrestling Competition, held in NOIDA in January.
On Wednesday, Yadav emerged the front runner in the new weight group for the continental competition to be held from April 9 to 18.
“The Asian Olympic qualifier will be tough. I guess India would get an Olympic berth in Almaty. But in case it doesn’t happen then the World Olympic qualifier in May in Sofia will be the last chance for me. The wrestling federation will conduct trials again. So, I’m not giving up until it’s officially announced that India has got a quota in the 74kg weight,” Yadav said.
In the trials conducted at Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday to select the Indian team, Ravinder was the leader in the 61kg event while Karan dominated the 70kg — the other non-Olympic freestyle weight categories. Sanjeet was the winner of the 92kg event.
Trials were also held in the four Greco Roman weights. Sandeep (55kg), Neeraj (63kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), and Harpreet Singh (82kg) were winners in their respective weight categories.
In the 2019, Olympic qualifying cycle star Bajrang Punia (65kg) was among four Indians to have secured the quota places. Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) are the other three to have made the cut for Tokyo Olympics, starting on July 23.