India woke up to the grimmest news possible on Friday as Narsingh Yadav, one of India's biggest medal contenders in wrestling from Rio 2016 Olympics, was forced to quit the games after the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rejected the participation of the wrestler and also suspended him for four years.
The 27-year-old freestyle wrestler from Varanasi was scheduled to compete on Friday in the men's 74 kg event but now all the expectations are over. Nevertheless, one more Indian wrestler will be in contention for a medal on the day. Sandeep Tomar, 25, will be in action in the men's 57 kg event at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro.
The wrestler from Sonipat will take on Russia's Viktor Lebedev in the round of 16. Catch the report here.
Sandeep, a gold medallist at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2016, is seen as a dark horse in the Indian wrestling contingent sent for Olympics 2016. However, getting past the experienced Viktor will take some real beating.
The 28-year-old Russian wrestler is a gold medal winner in the European Championships 2015 in Baku as well as a gold medallist in the 2016 Russian Championships. The experience gap is very much visible and Sandeep knows the importance of putting his best ever display to have any chance from his first round Rio 2016 bout.
"I have only one goal. To return with a medal from Rio," Sandeep told ScoopWhoop before heading to Brazil. "Though I won the bronze in that event to qualify for Olympics, I made some mistakes in the semi-final. And that is what I have been working on since. Because I don't want to take it easy till I perfect my game."
Men's 57kg freestyle wrestling: Viktor Lebedev vs Sandeep Tomar is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. IST start on Aug. 19.
Where to watch live
India: TV: Star Sports Network, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.
UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.
USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.