NEW DELHI: In a sensational turn of events, Narsingh Yadav was today cleared to compete in the Rio Olympics after being exonerated of doping charges by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which ruled that the wrestler was a victim of “sabotage” and deserved the benefit of doubt.
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.
Narsingh, who had been replaced by Parveen Rana in the Rio-bound squad, was present at the NADA headquarters when the decision was taken today.
But the Wrestling Federation of India today said Narsingh would now be brought back into the squad.
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.