Narsingh Yadav flunks dope test, says conspiracy against me

Deccan Chronicle.  | Priyanka Sharma

Sports, In Other News

Olympic dream is virtually over for wrestler Yadav, government mulls replacement in 74kg category.

Narsingh Yadav

New Delhi: Caught in a dope net, wrestler Narsingh Yadav on Sunday alleged that it was a “conspiracy” against him saying that “someone had sabotaged his food supplements and water intake”. The development has put serious doubts over his participation in the Rio Olympics, that begin August 5.

“I am innocent and the truth will come out soon. The test result is shocking for me. I have participated in so many international competitions but have never failed a dope test so far, then why now, when the Olympics is just few days away,” Narsingh told this paper from Sonepat.

“I have requested the WFI president to look into the matter and request the National Anti-Doping Agency to re-take my samples for a dope test. “I believe that there is foul play involved in this entire episode,” said Narsingh, who returned positive samples — both A and B — for steroid methanedienone. The wrestler had won an Olympic quota in the 74kg at the World Championships in Las Vegas last December.

The 26-year-old is now provisionally suspended after he appeared before a Nada disciplinary panel on Saturday. Early this month, dope control officers collected Narsingh’s samples from the SAI centre in Sonepat.

If found guilty, Narsingh faces a supension of close to four years (for first-time offenders), according to the revised Nada code. Nada director general Naveen Aggarwal confirmed that Narsingh appeared before an anti-doping disciplinary panel on Saturday, adding that “it was too early to comment” on the wrestler’s eligibility to compete in Rio.

“The hearing process is currently underway. We have already requested the panel to expedite the process. If he is found guilty by the panel, he will not be able to compete at the Rio Games,” Aggarwal said.

The hearing is likely to take place next week after the disciplinary panel seeks details of Narsingh’s reports. Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the Indian Olympic Association has denied Narsingh’s accreditation to Rio.

The new twist has come days after Narsingh won a long-drawn court battle against Sushil Kumar — also a 74kg wrestler — to earn his right to compete at the Games.

Sources suggest that the sports ministry is mulling over sending a replacement for Narsingh, in order to have an Indian representative in the 74kg freestyle category.

No Indian in 74kg category?
There is also a possibility that India might have not have a representative in the 74kg weight category, considering the International Olympic Committee guidelines.

According to IOC’s late athlete replacement policy, the deadline of sending an entry for late replacement is July 29, and moreover that athlete should be in the team’s provisional lists for the Games.

Said IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta, “As far as Sushil Kumar is concerned, I think there is practically no chance for him (to replace Narsingh). Everything is closed as far as entry of athletes is concerned.”

Sources in the Wrestling Federation of India reiterated the same saying that the entry dates for athletes in Rio is over. Meanwhile, Narsingh’s coach Jagmal urged the Nada to conduct a fresh dope test. “When there was no competition scheduled and he was just practising, why would he dope? Why would he take such a risk?” asked Jagmal, pointing out that Narsingh did not shy away from giving samples to the dope control officers on June 25 and July 5.

Wrestling Federation of India secretary general Vinod Tomar also alleged foul play saying Narsingh was an athlete with a clean record. “He is a clean athlete and international level wrestler and we stand by him. It’s a conspiracy against against,” Tomar said.

Sushil’s coach Satpal Singh, meanwhile, said his ward is ready to “step in” if needed. Reacting to the episode, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil tweeted: “I just want the best athlete to represent the country. Respect is to be earned not demanded.”

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