NADA clears wrestler Narsingh Yadav for Rio, says he was victim of sabotage

Doping panel finds no fault or negligence with Yadav, says he is victim of sabotage by a competitor.

New Delhi: In a huge relief for wrestler Narsingh Yadav, the National Anti-Doping Agency on Monday gave him a clean chit stating that he deserved the benefit of doubt, paving way for his participation in the Rio Olympics.

The panel said there was no fault and negligence on Narsingh Yadav's part and that he was a victim of sabotage by a competitor.

“Panel is of opinion that one time ingestion by Narsingh Yadav was not within his knowledge and strengthens his claim. The panel is of opinion that while practising it is impossible to keep a watch on drinks and it cannot be held as failure on athlete's part,” said the NADA panel.

Read: Narsingh Yadav doping scandal: Key developments you need to know

Ending the suspense of the last few days, NADA DG Naveen Agarwal read out a statement clearing Narsingh, leading to wild celebrations among his supporters.

"We kept in mind that in the past, till June 2, none of his samples were positive. It was inconceivable that one-time ingestion would be of benefit. Therefore the panel is of the view that the one-time ingestion was not intentional," Agarwal said while reading out the verdict.

"The panel concludes that the athlete deserves the benefit of article 10.4 of the NADA's anti-doping code. Keeping in view that he was victim of a sabotage, the panel exonerates the athlete from charges of anti-doping rules of NADA," he added.

Read: Maharashtra CM hints at foul play in Narsingh doping scandal

The NADA reached the conclusion after three days of marathon hearings last week during which Narsingh's lawyers argued that the wrestler had been sabotaged by rivals.

Narsingh had even filed a police complaint, naming two fellow wrestlers, one of whom is a 17-year-old.

Narsingh had returned positive for methandienone – a banned anabolic steroid, following which he cried foul, claiming that the entire episode was a conspiracy against him.

NADA's legal team had also given its arguments against the sabotage theory before the disciplinary committee, stating that the responsibility of keeping his system dope free lay with Narsingh.

The panel had summoned two cooks on the request of Narsingh's lawyer Vidushpat Singhania on Saturday to verify the theory of his food being contaminated.

Earlier, the argument put forth by NADA was that Narsingh was not eligible for remission, which he had been asking for, because he failed to establish that he did not commit any fault or negligence.

Narsingh had been picked by the WFI ahead of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar for the Rio Games on the basis of him bagging the 74kg Olympic quota berth with a World Championships bronze last year. While Sushil's demands for a trial were rejected by the Federation as well as the Delhi High Court after a lengthy legal battle.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice-president Tarlochan Singh said that there will be no procedural hurdle for the wrestler as he gears upto participate in the quadrennial extravaganza.

"It's a healthy sign for Indian sports. He (Narsingh) was unnecessarily being made a victim by certain interested person. We are very happy that NADA has taken a proper decision at the right moment. He can very easily reach Rio and join the Indian team. NADA has taken time but has taken proper decision," Tarlochan told Times Now.

The veteran official clarified that since it was not a WADA test or ban by world wrestling body, Narsingh should not face any further hurdles.

"He has not been penalised by WADA codre or World Federation. It was a decision taken by a local body which has been done properly again after proper investigations so that it goes in his favour," said Tarlochan.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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