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Clean on dope, high on hope: Narsingh Yadav to catch Rio flight

As the case stands now, NADA’s order will remain under a 21-day scrutiny and WADA can appeal to CAS against Narsingh and NADA.

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 18:11
Clean on dope, high on hope: Narsingh Yadav to catch Rio flight
Zee Media Bureau/Chandrashekhar Luthra

Sao Paulo: Narsingh Pancham Yadav is going to Rio.

This was quite evident from the time when the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) deferred its ruling on a case which had created a furore in India. On Monday, when NADA finally said “he is a victim of sabotage under Rule 10.4,” there were huge celebrations in not just the Narsingh camp but also in the entire Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

But a few faces were actually concerned about this “popular” decision. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has so far refused to bow down to allegations of “sabotage”, keeping in mind that such a decision could well cause an irreparable loss to the “battle against doping” at the international level.

“What if the entire Russia stand together and say there was a deep conspiracy against their 100 athletes? What if Maria Sharapova now cites the ‘conspiracy’ angle by her opponents in her case that is being heard by Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS)?” said a retired NADA official.

As the case stands now, NADA’s order will remain under a 21-day scrutiny and WADA can appeal to CAS against Narsingh and NADA.

Where is the proof of conspiracy?

The NADA verdict has come on the basis of “benefit of doubt” that has gone in Narsingh’s favour. However, nowhere has NADA proved “sabotage”. “Only benefit of doubt has been given to Narsingh and that would be hard to convince WADA,” said the official. NADA lawyer Gaurang Kanth was complaining after the verdict that “he was not allowed to cross-examine Narsingh on the sabotage angle”.

Pressure from the top

It was clear from the time of hearing that pressure was enormous from the “very top” to do “justice” to Narsingh. dna learns this was the prime reason why a decision was not taken on Saturday.

“Shot putter Inderjeet Singh, or, for that matter, all those hundred of athletes banned since January 1, 2009, across India will now ask NADA to reopen their cases. And I still have doubts in my mind whether WADA will actually accept this decision,” said the former official.

WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was quick to react. “We will write to the Olympic Organising Committee and ensure that Narsingh represents India at Rio.” There was certain apprehension in his words.

Why to go that far? Take the example of the 4 x 400 women’s relay team. Three of its athletes tested positive after the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The lower courts exonerated them. But WADA went to CAS and got them banned for two years.

“The IOC maintains that no dope-tainted athlete will ever enter the Olympic arena. Rule 2.1 clearly states that it is up to the elite athlete to ensure no substance enters his body,” said the official.

There is hardly any doubt that Narsingh’s clean chit has added one more medal prospect for India, but it would be interesting to see how many fights he has to fight outside the mat before he would actually be allowed inside the Games Village in Rio.

First Published: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 16:18

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