Indian wrestler and medal hopeful Narsingh Yadav has been ousted from the Olympics after failing the dope test conducted on an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). What has added more to the heartbreak is a four-year ban handed to him by WADA, after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) overturned the clean chit given to him by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had appealed against the NADA’s all-clear to Narsingh at CAS, three days ahead of his scheduled opening bout at the Olympics.
“…the parties were informed that the application was upheld, that Narsingh Yadav was sanctioned with a four-year ineligibility period starting today,” CAS said in a statement after the hearing, which lasted four hours last night.
“Furthermore, all competitive results obtained by Narsingh Yadav from and including 25 June 2016 shall be disqualified, with all resulting consequences (including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes),” the release added.
During the hearing, the CAS panel also rejected his argument that he was the victim of sabotage and noted that there was “no evidence that he bore no fault, nor that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional”.
The verdict marked a painful end to the sordid controversy which began with the wrestler failing a June 25 test.
The 27-year-old’s name had appeared in the official Olympic schedule after he underwent the mandatory weigh-in. He was to take on France’s Zelimkhan Khadjiev in the qualification round but the CAS verdict has dashed all his hopes.
The embattled 74kg category grappler has maintained all along that his scandalous dope test was a result of conspiracy by rivals who spiked his food or drinks. Prior to his arrival at Rio, NADA India had exonerated Narsingh Yadav following two positive anti-doping tests with methandienone on 25 June and 5 July 2016.
Earlier, having grabbed the quota by virtue of his World Championships bronze in Las Vegas last year, Narsingh’s road to Rio was fraught with obstacles after he was named to represent India ahead of double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumar.
Sushil Kumar had dragged Narsingh to the Delhi High Court and a bitter courtroom tussle followed but the judgement went in latter’s favour.
After he returned positive for a banned steroid following a dope test in June by the NADA, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) backed Narsingh’s claims of a foul-play. And days before the Olympics, Narsingh was cleared of doping charges by the NADA who said the wrestler was indeed a victim of ‘sabotage’ and deserved the benefit of doubt.
However, his hopes were dealt a massive blow when WADA challenged the NADA’s decision and moved the CAS amid speculation that the wrestler may face a ban up to four years.
(With inputs from the PTI)