It’s been a turbulent year for Narsingh Yadav, but it will pay off with an appearance at the Olympic Games. United World Wrestling (UWW) confirmed, via Twitter, that the beleaguered wrestler will represent India in 74kg (163 lbs) freestyle wrestling in Rio.
In September, Yadav earned an Olympic quota spot for India by winning bronze at the world championships. That performance automatically made him the presumptive representative for the weight class in Rio.
But in May, two-time Olympic gold medalist Sushil Kumar tried staking his claim to the 74kg quota spot despite the fact that he hadn’t competed since 2014. Kumar demanded that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) hold an Olympic Trial between himself and Yadav in order to determine the representative, and when that request was denied, Kumar took the matter to the Delhi High Court.
The court dismissed the case, saying that the WFI had the right to select Yadav without holding a wrestle-off. Once again, the path was clear for him to compete at the Olympics.
Then in July, less than two weeks before the Opening Ceremony, news came out that Yadav had failed a drug test by testing positive for an anabolic steroid. But Yadav was adamant about his innocence, enough so that he claimed he was the victim of a “conspiracy” against him.
“Someone is trying to frame me on purpose,” Yadav said at the time. “They are trying to stop me from going to the Olympics. There should be a proper investigation and those involved behind this should be given a strict punishment and I should be sent to Rio.”
The WFI even backed Yadav on his allegations.
With Yadav’s drug test making him ineligible for the Olympics, India named Parveen Rana – not Kumar – as his provisional replacement.
Meanwhile, Yadav appealed his case to India’s national anti-doping agency and successfully convinced them that he had been the victim of sabotage. The agency dropped the charges after determining there was “no fault or negligence” for which Yadav could be blamed.
The agency’s ruling paved the way for Yadav to compete in Rio, but he still needed to gain final clearance from other agencies, including the World Anti-Doping Agency.
According to today’s announcement from UWW, all final hurdles have been cleared, and Yadav will once again be India’s 74kg entry.
Competition in the 74kg weight class will take place on Friday, Aug. 19. Top competitors will include Team USA’s Jordan Burroughs, Russia’s Aniuar Geduev and Iran’s Hassan Yazdani.