While the fate of Narsingh Yadav hangs in NADA hands, there is some positive news, India’s slot at the Olympics will not go vacant. There was confusion on Monday with Indian Olympic Association and Wrestling Federation of India giving contradictory statements about India’s chances of representation in the 74kg freestyle category but that has been put to rest.
In the latest development the Wrestling Federation of India(WFI) official request to the United World Wrestling (UWW) to be allowed a replacement for Narsingh Yadav has been accepted. Yadav has been provisionally replaced by not Sushil Kumar as many were expecting but buy his under study a lesser known Praveen Rana.
UWW, the governing body for Olympic (amateur), traditional and associated wrestling styles released a statement on its website confirming Narsingh’s Yadav replacement The UWW official statement said, “Yadav, who qualified his nation for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, has been provisionally suspended by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and is restricted from competing at the Rio Games. United World Wrestling informed the Indian Olympic Association last week that since the positive test occurred outside of the qualification event they would be allowed replace Yadav with another wrestler, or else vacate the qualification spot. The Indian Olympic Association informed United World Wrestling of their desire to enter Parveen Rana as their nation’s replacement at 74kg in men’s freestyle.”
Praveen Rana has won a gold medal in the 74 kg weight category at the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament in USA in 2014 and another gold in 70kg category wrestling tournament in Italy in 2015, thus he has the credentials to compete at the big stage. But he still pales in comparison with either Yadav or Kumar. The WFI decision to go ahead with Rana is sure going to add to the controversy as Sushil Kumar’s camp might feel betrayed. But given on the level of fitness and preparation Praveen Rana’s selection over Kumar is justified and for a change it is pure merit than politics which is the driving force behind this decision.
The final picture will become clear once NADA verdict of Narsingh Yadav is out. If he is proven innocent he still can only participate if his body is clean of the banned substance. The next few days will determine as to who will represent India but one thing is sure it is not going to the two time medal winner Sushil Kumar.