The 74-kg category wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s participation in the event in Rio hinges on which way the Court of Arbitration rules as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has not accepted the clean chit given to him by the national agency. The Indian has to go through the process and hope to emerge in the clear as his bouts start Friday, the very next day after the hearing which is slated for Thursday. There is no guessing which way the verdict will go although his lawyers believe they have a strong case of sabotage in which the wrestler was done in through either his supplements or his food being laced with the drug metandienone, an outdated muscle builder hardly used these days. India may be convinced that Narsingh, in the eye of a storm ever since he was picked ahead of Sushil Kumar for Rio, was a victim of dark goings-on in the extremely jealous world of high-profile sport.
By the anti-doping rules, Narsingh faces a four-year ban if the CAS rules against him. India has no case if the arbitrators go by the letter of the law, which is also possible at a time when the entire athletics contingent of Russia has been banned from Rio for suspected state-sponsored performance enhancing drugs programme aimed at giving its sportsmen the edge in competition. It would be a great development if the lawyers can convince the arbitrators of the genuineness of the conspiracy theory. Outside of Narsingh’s case, the story of Indian sportsmen, especially athletes, is pockmarked with failed dope tests. The nearly 4,000 drug tests Rio participants have undergone in the last fortnight are indicative of the seriousness of the problem. India cannot claim an exception and must fight Narsingh’s case only on merits if the wrestler is to go on and compete in Rio. There is no place for sentiment in doping issues.