New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Dope-tainted wrestler Narsingh Yadav will have to wait till Thursday to know his fate as the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) on Wednesday deferred the announcement of the verdict by a day.
During a prolonged hearing spanning more than three hours, Narsingh’s lawyers pleaded that the 26-year-old was a victim of circumstances and urged the panel not to put a ban on his Rio Olympic prospects.
Narsingh’s chances of participating in the upcoming Rio Games came under a cloud last Sunday when he returned a positive result for a dope test conducted by the NADA on June 25.
Following this, the Mumbai-based grappler, who was selected to represent the country in the men’s 74kg freestyle category ahead of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, was handed a provisional suspension.
He ran into further trouble on Wednesday after it was announced that a second test conducted on July 5 has also returned a positive result.
Meanwhile, under pressure from the United World Wrestling, a hesitant Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday, named Parveen Rana for the replacement slot in order to preserve India’s Olympic quota in the 74kg freestyle category.
WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said that Rana’s name was sent on July 25 — which was the last date for naming replacements — to secure the Olympic quota.
“Although Praveen Rana has been named as replacement for Yadav if he gets a clean cheat, I am ready to fight another battle for him to secure his Olympic berth,” Singh told IANS.
“Rana’s name was sent to secure country’s Olympic quota and the proposal was accepted on July 26. If we wouldn’t have recommended Rana’s name, we would have missed our quota,” he added.
Singh, however, is still hopeful that Narsingh has a slim chance of participating in the quadrennial extravaganza, something which looks a distant possibility going by Sports Minister Vijay Goel’s comments.
“His road to the Olympics has not completely ended. Now, it’s up to Yadav to prove his innocence. Once given clean cheat, he will go for the Olympics,” Singh said.
The minister on Wednesday said that no player in the Olympics squad can be substituted if he or she has been suspended by an anti-doping panel.
“I don’t think any person is allowed as replacement of another, if the original player has failed the dope test,” Goel told reporters in Parliament.
“In case a player is seriously unwell, then under extraordinary circumstances the concerned agency considers substituting another player,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added.
But Singh refuted Goel’s claims, saying: “The minister is unaware of the rules. He is saying such things due to lack of information. Rana’s name has already been accepted.”
Narsingh had claimed of a conspiracy to frame him and had filed a police report in this regard, although he refrained from naming anyone.
“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 the media on Tuesday evening after filing his police complaint.
“I feel even officials are involved because I am not being provided the CCTV footage,” he added.
Singh backed Narsingh’s claims and asserted that a conspiracy was hatched to stop the wrestler from participating in the Olympics and this needs to be exposed in order to secure future generations of sportspersons.
“I have been saying since the beginning that a conspiracy was hatched to stop him from Rio Olympics. The cook at SAI centre in Sonipat has identified a wrestler named Jitesh. He is brother of a known wrestler of Chatrasal akhada. Two other people have also identified him. This is a clear case of conspiracy,” he said.
“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.”
Singh, an MP from Gonda in Uttar Pradesh also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the whole affair.
“The matter needs to be probed by CBI as it is related to future of youth of the country,” he said.
“He has been an Olympian. Has played more than 50 international games. He knows very well that what should be eat and what shouldn’t. How can he make such mistake,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people in Narsingh’s native village of Ajgara in Varanasi district have started a demonstration demanding a CBI probe into the whole issue.
Narsingh’s father Pancham Yadav and mother Bhoolna Devi said their son was innocent and did not even consume tea, forget taking steroids to boost his energy levels.
The family alleged that wrestler Sushil and his coach Satpal Singh have conspired to get their son out of the Olympics. Narsingh’s family said they will hold a rally and demonstrate outside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office in Varanasi, in case justice was not served to their son. Modi is Lok Sabha MP from Varanasi.
Meanwhile, Narsingh’s replacement Rana has already flown to Georgia where he will train with the Indian wrestling team for the remaining part of their training stint before the Rio Games.