Narsingh Yadav is the best wrestler, as compared to Sushil Kumar, to represent the country in 74kg category for the upcoming Rio Olympics, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) told the Delhi High Court, and added that the selection has been made in a fair and transparent manner.
The high court bench of Justice Manmohan was further told by the WFI that two-time Olympic medallist Sushil had consistently avoided selection trials for the last two years so as not to face competition with Yadav. Yadav has been training for the last eight months for the 74kg class, said the WFI.
“Yadav has been found to be the best wrestler to represent India in the upcoming Olympic Games. The selection has been made in a completely fair and transparent manner and without political interference,” said counsel appearing for the WFI.
Yadav, 26, has defeated six wrestlers out of 18 participating in Rio Olympics, counsel told the court, adding that the WFI had always sent the sportsperson who secure a berth.
“Earlier Sushil Kumar had won the quota and he was sent. Now Narsingh Yadav has secured the quota (berth), so he will be sent,” said counsel.
The court was hearing a plea of wrestler Sushil Kumar who asked for trials for the 74kg class be held to enable him secure a berth in the Indian wrestling squad for the Rio Olympics.
Sushil Kumar took a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then silver in 2012 London in the 66kg division, but the category was abolished by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) in 2014.
This prompted him to move up to the 74kg weight category which brought him into direct competition with Narsingh Yadav, who was the top Indian wrestler in this class till then.
Sushil Kumar, 32, missed the qualification for Rio Olympics due to injury, and Narsingh Yadav was able to secure the berth for representing the country.
After repeatedly requesting the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and being denied time and again for holding trials anew, Sushil Kumar moved the court for relief.
During the hearing, the advocate appearing for Sushil Kumar claimed that he was not allowed trial in the 74kg category as he had not participated in the Pro-Wrestling League.
The WFI denied the allegations and said Sushil had opted out from Pro-Wrestling League because he had to face Yadav.
The court will continue the hearing on May 30.