Narsingh's Rio dreams over, hints Sports Minister

Sports Minister Vijay Goel today hinted that Narsingh Yadav's prospects of participating at the Rio Olympics is virtually over but said the wrestler will be given a fair chance to defend himself.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.   -  PTI

Sports Minister Vijay Goel today hinted that Narsingh Yadav's prospects of participating at the Rio Olympics is virtually over but said the wrestler will be given a fair chance to defend himself.

Goel also made it clear that Narsingh's dope case will be dealt as per international rules with the strict implementation of the WADA Code.

"NADA is an autonomous body established under the WADA Code to promote clean sports and check doping. In Narsingh's case, we will ensure that WADA Code is implemented. We are committed to the WADA Code," he said.

In his introductory remark before a press conference, Goel said India will be represented by 119 sportspersons (from earlier 120) in Rio Olympics.

"Both of Narsingh's A and B dope samples have returned positive. He has been placed under provisional suspension and so we now have 119 athletes. That's why I said India will be represented by 119 athletes," the minister said when asked if Narshing still has a chance to take the Rio bus.

"The NADA has disciplinary panels to deal with doping cases. He (Narshing) will get a fair chance to defend himself and present his case before these panels. There will be justice under the rules and beyond that there is nothing much we can do in this case," said the minister who took charge this month.

Asked about his comments on Narsingh's allegation of conspiracy by others to frame him, Goel said, "He has not said it to us. We don't know."

On whether the government will agree to a probe on the issue as demanded by Narsingh, Goel evaded the question. "Law will take its own course and we cannot do anything. Let the NADA panels deal with the case and then we will see," he said.

Top Sports Authority of India officials were furious that Narsingh has talked about a conspiracy to frame him after both his samples returned positive for anabolic steroid. They said that Narsingh's case is an open and shut case.

"What does he mean by conspiracy? All food supplements provided at SAI Centers are given after testing and that too by the federations. Does he mean to say that SAI is involved in contaminating the supplements with banned substances?" an official asked.

"He is in the dock now and he should first prove (that he is innocent) himself and then say all these things like he has been framed and there was a conspiracy," the official said.

"Every athlete who has tested positive in the past has claimed that they are innocent and they are being framed. It is not new. We will see what the NADA disciplinary panel decide," added the official.

The official said "as of now, Narsingh has no chance to go to Rio Olympics. It is an open and shut case. We have seen these kind of cases earlier. The (WADA) rules are very strict and it is very difficult to prove innocence in such cases."

"Likewise, there is also no chance for Sushil Kumar to represent India in Rio. It is over, the deadline for sending entries is over. India will not be represented by any wrestler in the 74kg freestyle."

Asked if there could be any swapping of dope samples, the official said, "I don't think this can happen. If he thinks it can happen, and if he writes to us officially alleging that it could happen, we have to do a DNA test and we are not saying that we will do it or not. But he has to first tell us that officially."

The official also rubbished Narsingh's allegations against a top SAI functionary at the Sonepat Center. "He (Narsingh) has not informed or written anything (against any SAI official) earlier when he thought there was something happening. But he is making a complaint just now, after the dope case."