In a sensational turnaround, Narsingh Yadav was on Monday exonerated of doping charges by the National Anti-doping Agency (NADA), which concluded that he was a victim of sabotage, paving the way for the wrestler’s participation in Rio Olympics.
After more than a week of drama which began with Narsingh testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid methandienone in tests conducted on June 25, NADA DG Naveen Agarwal put an end to the suspense on the wrestler’s fate by exonerating him.
“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.”
Agarwal said the sample collected on July 5 had substantially lower content of the banned substance than the one taken on June 25. “…the report about indicative estimated concentration of prohibited substance in the sample collected on June 25 has substantially reduced in the sample collected on July 5,” he added.
“Important to note that report of the first sample was not known to the athlete till the collection of second sample on July 5. Had the athlete been regularly taking it, the report of July 5 would have been positive to the extent of having the main substance.”
A relieved Narsingh said he is eager to go to the Olympics now and win a medal for the country.
“I am very happy and I am hopeful of winning a medal at the Olympics. Truth has won. This will ensure that nothing like this happens with any other player. It is a huge win. I’m grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped me get justice. I hope to win a medal at Rio 2016,” Narsingh said.
“I knew I was on the right side and was confident of getting justice,” he added.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said the process to get Narsingh back in the Olympic squad has been set in motion. Narsingh had been replaced by Parveen Rana when the scandal broke out to save India’s quota place in the 74kg category.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed happiness over Narsingh Yadav getting a clean chit in the doping scandal, saying he always knew the wrestler was being victimised.
“Great news! Congratulations to Narsingh Yadav for getting a clean chit from NADA to participate in the Rio Olympics. All the best Narsingh!,”
Fadnavis tweeted. “We always knew that Narsingh Yadav was being victimised. Our stand is vindicated. Thank you Hon Narendra Modi ji and Vijay Goel ji!” Fadnavis said in another tweet.
India’s Olympic buildup was dealt a huge blow last month as top wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was selected ahead of the celebrated Sushil Kumar, failed a dope test but insisted that the scandal that has jeopardised his Olympic participation is a conspiracy against him.
Director General Navin Agarwal said Narsingh had tested positive for a banned substance and he appeared before a NADA disciplinary panel yesterday. Sources said he had tested positive for methandienone — a banned anabolic steroid.