As the Narsingh Yadav doping saga played out across TV screens the past few days, his family members and coaches here were not able to contact him over the phone. Since the wrestler was wary that his phone could be tapped, he had asked brother, Vinod, to call a friend who is with him in Delhi.
“Narsingh told Vinod they would talk at length once the verdict was announced. Even I have not been able to talk to him for the last couple of days,” Bharat Yadav, Narsingh’s first coach, told HT.
“When I had tried calling him a few days back, he did not take my calls. I finally got in touch the next day through a friend who is with him in Delhi. He broke down, and I did my best to console him,” said Vinod. “The way Narsingh was trapped, we had lost hope he would be exonerated.”
Narsingh’s personal coach Jagmal Singh said his ward had switched off his phone due to reporters pestering him.
On Monday, with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) exonerating him of willfully consuming performance-enhancing drug metandienone, GS Sangha, wrestling coach in-charge of the Sports Authority of India’s Kandivali campus, where the 26-year-old trains, got a call from Narsingh a few minutes after the verdict.
“We were in the middle of a training session but paused as soon as we saw who was calling and the boys in the hall broke into spontaneous applause when I answered. He promised to make us proud in Rio,” said Sangha.
The mood at Jogeshwari’s Yadav Nagar slums, where Narsingh was born, was similar.
However, celebrations at Narsingh’s house in Goregaon were muted. His four-year-old nephew, Shashank, has dengue and is in hospital since Saturday.
Despite the slim chance of making it to Rio for the Olympics, Narsingh trained consistently at Sonepat.
“He was running between Delhi and Sonepat, but trained daily. Even on Monday, he spent over two hours training. He was depressed over the last few days as the threat of a ban loomed over his career,” said Jagmal.
“Lekin aaj nyay ki jeet ho gayi (Today, justice prevailed),” he added.