New Delhi: Narsingh Yadav's Olympic fate will be known on Thursday after the National Anti-Doping Agency's disciplinary panel adjourned its hearing on the dope scandal surrounding the wrestler even as he failed a second dope test and lodged a police complaint against two fellow grapplers.
In a hearing which lasted three and half hours, Narsingh and his battery of lawyers presented their case in front of the NADA committee, which will pronounce its verdict.
"We have put Narsingh's argument. We have full faith in the NADA panel. We are trying to convince them. We are hopeful he will be exonerated. NADA panel is helpful. We have presented our argument today and panel was very patient and we had a very fair hearing. NADA will present their case on Thursday," Narsingh's lawyer Vidushpat Singhania said.
"The NADA panel has completed the hearing, the decision will be taken tomorrow. Nothing has been decided. It has been adjourned till tomorrow. We are very confident. There will be another discussion at 4pm tomorrow," added his promoters JSW Sports' MD Mustafa Ghouse.
Amid scenes of complete pandemonium at the NADA headquarters, Narsingh was accompanied by not just lawyers but also his supporters, who shouted slogans demanding justice for him.
The wrestler has alleged that he has been framed in the doping scandal by rivals, who spiked his food and supplements to stop him from going to Rio. However, his supplements have reportedly been found to be clean.
Narsingh filed an FIR at the Sonepat police station naming two fellow wrestlers, one of them a 17-year-old, and persisted with his demand for a CBI probe into the scandal that has sent shockwaves into the Indian sporting fraternity.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) also continued to back Narsingh but announced that Praveen Rana would replace him in the squad for Rio de Janeiro, a move that was approved by the sport's world governing body -- United World Wrestling.
"I have always maintained that there has been a conspiracy against me. If I am cleared of the charges, I will go to Rio. I have identified the boy who was seen contaminating my food. I have given a detailed complaint to the police," Narsingh told reporters after filing his complaint.
"I feel even officials are involved because I am not being provided the CCTV footage," he added.
Narsingh himself desisted from taking names but WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh revealed the alleged saboteurs while talking to the media.
"We suspect Jitesh, who fights in the 75kg category, and Sumit, both of them live in Chhatarsaal. And one of them has admitted to spiking Narsingh's food. I can't say on the conspiracy and can't say whether they did this on their own or on someone's asking. We cannot investigate this but we support Narsingh's demand for a CBI inquiry," Brij Bhushan Sharan said here.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel, on the other hand, stuck to his stand that the government will abide by international rules when it comes to deciding on Narsingh's trip to Rio in the aftermath of the controversy.
Narsingh's hopes of competing in the Olympics had faded further after the wrestler failed a second dope test which was conducted on him on July 5.
It is learnt that Narsingh, already under provisional suspension for failing a June 25 dope test, has also flunked the second test done on both his 'A' and 'B' samples taken on July 5.
"It's the same substance that was found in the first test. It was unlikely that it would go out of the system," a Wrestling Federation of Indian source said referring to banned anabolic steroid methandienone.
Earlier, the WFI sent Rana's name to replace Narsingh, putting an end to the speculation surrounding double-Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar's chances.
Narsingh had been picked ahead of Sushil after he won the quota place with a bronze medal in the World Championships.
Freestyle wrestler Rana had earlier won a gold medal in the 74kg category at the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament in USA in 2014.
"United World Wrestling informed the Indian Olympic Association last week that since the positive test occurred outside of the qualification event they would be allowed replace Yadav with another wrestler, or else vacate the qualification spot," the United World Wrestling said in a statement.
"The Indian Olympic Association informed United World Wrestling of their desire to enter Praveen Rana as their nation's replacement at 74kg in men's freestyle," it added.
Goel said that doors are almost shut for Narsingh and it is time for the conspiracy theories to stop. "Under the code of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), NADA also works and Narsingh was found positive after a test conducted by NADA and he was provisionally suspended. All these conspiracy theories which are floating, unless all these things come to our notice, we can't do any investigation or take any step regarding that," he said.
"But I don't think it is a debatable issue because whatever be the reason of doping, not only us but the whole world is also watching it and I think it will be extremely difficult for him to go to Rio.
"There is no proof of these rumours and I want all these suspicions of foul play to stop and our anti-doping agency will give a final report within a few days and we have also tested his food supplement."
Asked about Narsingh's demand for an CBI investigation, Goel said: "When the federation will write to us only then the government will see, similarly as it sees any other issues."
Another Rio Olympics qualified athlete Inderjeet Singh, a shot putter, also failed a dope test after his 'A' sample returned positive for a banned substance.
Asked wasn't it a concern that two athletes failed dope test ahead of the Olympics, Goel said: "Both Narsingh and Inderjeet are not new players. They have won many medals for India and they know all of these.
"NADA also keeps educating the athletes through booklets. There are around 1000 budding athletes are registered under NADA who are always under the eyes of NADA," he said....