Indian wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav
Indian wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav (File photo | AP)

Narsingh elected chairman of WFI's Athletes' Commission

A total of eight candidates were in the fray to elect seven members of the commission. The elected members then chose Narsingh as the chairman.

CHENNAI: Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Narsingh Pancham Yadav was elected chairman of the Athletes' Commission of the Wrestling Federation of India on Wednesday during the ongoing Federation Cup in Varanasi. Election of the Athletes' Commission was one of the conditions laid down by the United World Wrestling while revoking the suspension of the WFI in February this year.

A total of eight candidates were in the fray to elect seven members of the commission. The elected members then chose Narsingh as the chairman. The other elected members were Sahil (Delhi), Smitha AS (Kerala), Bharti Bhaghei (UP), Khushboo S Pawar (Gujarat), Nikki (Haryana), and Sweta Dubey (Bengal). Nikki was elected as the convener. The commission members were elected for two years.  

Narsingh, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics losing the opening bout in 74kg, made the headlines ahead of the 2016 Rio Games. By virtue of his bronze medal in the 74kg in the 2015 World Championships, the Maharashtra wrestler earned a quota but two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar first requested for a trial against him and then moved the Delhi High Court seeking the same.

The court rejected the appeal clearing Narsingh's way to compete in the Rio Games. However, he failed two dope tests prior to the Games and was banned for four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport even though the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had cleared him on the plea that his failed test was the result of sabotage.

The CAS decision came a day before his opening bout in the Olympics, forcing him to leave Rio de Janeiro without competing. The ban came to an end in July 2020 but Narsingh has maintained that the doping saga was a case of sabotage.

Narsingh also won a bronze medal in the 2014 Asian Games while his last international event was the 2021 Asian Championships where he finished with a bronze in the 79kg.

Soon after the elections, the Sanjay Kumar Singh-led WFI appointed an Athletes' Commission but the world body then asked it to re-convene the elections. "The candidates for this commission shall be active athletes or retired for no longer than four years. The voters shall be exclusively athletes. These elections shall take place during trials or any senior national championships where this operation can take place, but no later than July 1, 2024," the UWW had said.

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