Narsingh: 'I am devastated'

"My dream of competing and winning the country a medal at the Rio Olympics has been cruelly snatched away from me twelve hours before my first bout, but I will do everything it takes to prove my innocence. It is all I have left to fight for."

Narsingh Yadav was to take on France's Zelimkhan Khadjiev in the qualification round.   -  AP

Narsingh Yadav has issued a statement after he was handed a four-year ban for failing a dope test by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Narsingh had been cleared to compete in the Rio Olympics by the Indian National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) who said the wrestler was a victim of 'sabotage' after he claimed that his food or drinks had been spiked.

But the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against the NADA all-clear to Narsingh at CAS, three days ahead of his scheduled opening bout at the Olympics. The CAS Panel said that it did not accept the athlete's argument that he was the victim of sabotage and noted that there was no evidence that he bore no fault, nor that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional. Narsingh was given a four-year period of ineligibility

The wrestler has issued a statement saying, "To say I am devastated at the decision of CAS would be putting it mildly. I have gone through so much over the last two months off the mat but the thought of fighting for the glory of the nation at the Games had kept me going."

"My dream of competing and winning the country a medal at the Rio Olympics has been cruelly snatched away from me twelve hours before my first bout, but I will do everything it takes to prove my innocence. It is all I have left to fight for."

JSW Sports, who manage Narsingh Yadav, also came out with a statement saying, "We are deeply disappointed at the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in handing wrestler Narsingh Yadav a four-year ban following an appeal by WADA. Narsingh is, first and foremost, an athlete of India who we at JSW Sports proudly support and will continue doing so."

"Ever since he has earned a berth to represent the country at the Olympic Games, Narsingh has been put through an ordeal that no athlete should have to ever go through. JSW Sports strongly believes in Narsingh’s innocence and will stand by the wrestler in doing everything to fight for justice. We will be pressing for a review of the decision that WADA would be amenable to if further evidence is found pertaining to sabotage."