Narsingh fails 2nd dope test, Olympic hopes fade

Narsingh's chances of going to Rio Olympics slimmed down a great deal after the second dope test returned positive. It didn’t help that the food supplements that were sent for testing also returned clean.

Narsingh has been claiming that he has been framed in the scandal by rivals, who, he alleged, spiked his food supplements and meals. But the 26-year-old's food supplements have reportedly been found to be clean in tests conducted after his allegations.   -  SANDEEP SAXENA

Wednesday began on a positive note for Narsingh Yadav but by the time he walked out of the National Anti Doping Agency office late in the evening, his chances of going to Rio Olympics had slimmed down a great deal after the second dope test returned positive. It didn’t help that the food supplements that were sent for testing also returned clean.

The NADA Disciplinary Panel to likely to take a decision on Thursday after completion of the hearing.

Yadav, represented by lawyer Vidushpat Singhania, appeared before the NADA Disciplinary Panel and stuck to the conspiracy theory. Even before the wrestler arrived for the hearing, however, news of his failing a second dope test – for the sample collected on July 5 – spread even though for most people in the know, it was not a surprise. “If the June 25 samples have tested positive, it was expected that the next one too would do so. After all, it isn't possible for a steroid to wash out in 10 days,” a NADA official explained.

However, the positive test – along with the fact that samples of the food supplements that were sent for testing also returned clean – raised doubts on Narsingh's claims of a conspiracy. According to sources present at the hearing, the defence panel accepted at the outset that Narsingh had returned a second positive test and that the supplements too had come clean. “However, the defence stuck to the conspiracy theory even while admitting that it did not have any proof to substantiate its claims,” the source said.

The defence counsel has supposedly filed a 600-page affidavit to support its stand citing several previous cases internationally and their judgements even though it has admitted to having no material evidence for anything including the alleged spiking of food on June 5. “It is more a case of legal precedence and jurisprudence than anything concrete,” sources said.

Narsingh arrived amidst tight security at the NADA office with the media kept away even as a handful of supporters shouted slogans. He left similarly, jostling past the horde of assembled media without saying anything though Singhania hoped to get a decision by Thursday. “Today was our day for argument and the NADA would go tomorrow. We have to see if we will get a chance to counter after the conclusions of arguments. We are hopeful of an early decision but we will know only tomorrow,” Singhania said after the hearing that lasted for more than three hours.

Mustafa Ghouse of the JSW, which supports Yadav, said clearing the wrestler's name was the first priority at the moment. “We have put forth our case. I can't comment on what happened in there but we have full faith in the panel. Most important is to get him cleared because that's what we believe, that he is clean. I don't think you can prep anyone for something like this. You couldn't have prepped anyone for a High Court case either after winning a quota in September last year but we are doing everything we can to keep him calm and focussed on his training,” Ghouse said.

Asked if the defence had sought an early resolution of the matter given the fact that the Olympics begin in less than 10 days from now, Singhania said the case was already being heard in an expedited manner. “There are provisions under which Narsingh can still go to the Olympics but we will have to wait and see what the panel decides as the quantum of punishment,” he added.

The WFI has already named >Parveen Rana as Narsingh's replacement and the former, along with Yogeshwar Dutt and their sparring partners have already left for Georgia to train ahead of the Olympics.

Meanwhile, >Yadav formally filed a case of criminal conspiracy with the Rai police station alleging his food had been tampered with on June 5 and naming a 17-year old cadet wrestler called Jitesh as the accused. Jitesh is the younger brother of Sumit, a 120kg grappler who trains at Chhatrasal Stadium which is also Sushil Kumar's training arena. Interestingly, Rana too is a trainee of the same centre. The case has also been brought to the NADA panel's notice.

Given the circumstances, the 26-year old's Rio dreams may well be over even if he does get away with just a reprimand since the government is not said to be in favour of risking another failed test in Rio.

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