New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Monday said dope-tainted grappler Narsingh Yadav (74kg) can represent India in the upcoming Rio games next month only if the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) exonerates him.
The 26-year-old on Sunday flunked a dope test after his ‘B’ sample tested positive for a banned substance, jeopardising his chances of competing in what will be his second Summer Games.
Goel refrained from giving a direct reply on the status of the probe but said the Mumbai-based grappler can only represent the nation if he gets a clean chit from NADA.
“Narsingh Yadav suspended provisionally, will be allowed to go if NADA exonerates him,” Goel told reporters here, while announcing a mass run ‘Run for Rio’, to be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
”He is under provisional suspension, so 119 athletes will represent India in Rio. Right now full inquiry is not complete so can’t say if Narsingh will go to Rio or not,” he added.
Narsingh, who managed to get the Rio ticket in the 74kg weight category after a series of controversies with two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, however, got the backing of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who termed him “innocent”.
“I believe Narsingh is an innocent guy. He can’t do it. He has been tested so many times in the past also, and had never failed any test. I am sure it’s a conspiracy,” Singh said earlier on Monday.
“We want justice for Narsingh. If he has said he did not take drugs, he must be heard. I hope the committee does justice to Narsingh,” he added.
Singh’s comments came after Narsingh’s roommate at Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Sonepat, Sandeep Tulsi also failed a NADA dope test on Monday.
Singh also trashed media reports of him calling on the PM to intervene into the matter.
“No, there is no truth in these reports. I did not meet him today….I had a meeting with him but it was last week,” Singh told IANS.
The 26-year-old Narsingh has been handed provisional suspension and virtually ruled out of next month’s Olympics after his accreditation was withheld.