India’s wrestling federation threw its weight on Monday behind Narsingh Yadav, who alleged he failed a dope test because of contaminated food and demanded a CBI probe into an episode that threatens to derail the country’s preparation for next month’s Rio Olympics
The 26-year-old grappler tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid and will appear before a National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) panel this week after his samples are tested again.
“The federation feels that injustice has been done with Narsingh Yadav,we hope the committee does justice,” Wresting Federation of India president BB Sharan Singh said.
He has alleged that he was the victim of sabotage and that his food and water at an ongoing training camp was contaminated – a claim that the WFI appeared to support.
“I am doing so well, why would I even take banned steroids? A CBI probe should be conducted,” Yadav told news agency ANI. He pointed the finger at an employee of the Sports Authority of India that was running the training camp.
“Yadav was a high-profile member of India’s contingent for the Rio Olympics that begins on August 5, having won a protracted battle with double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who unsuccessfully challenged his exclusion from the squad in court.
“I believe that there is foul play involved in this entire episode,” said Yadav, who won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. “Someone has sabotaged my food supplements and water intake.
But the sports ministry junked Yadav’s allegations, saying there was no proof that administrator Radhica Sreeman, who is very close to Sushil Kumar, may have sabotage the grappler’s Olympic chances.
“He is in the dock now. He should first do all to get his name cleared rather than being assertive and start demanding things,” said a senior ministry official.
“What is the allegation really? Are they saying that SAI is instutionalising doping?”
Sources said Sreeman had written to the Directorate General SAI, Injeti Srinivas, to provide Yadav security after a Crime Investigation Department (CID) report raised fears of harm during the selection drama with Sushil Kumar.
Yadav also received support from Sushil Kumar, who said he was not in the running for the Rio games and called the doping scandal “unfortunate”.
“I wanted to win a third medal for India but for the past one month, I have been away from preparations for Olympics. I have instead been supporting my fellow wrestlers in the hope that they would bring a medal for the country,” he said in a video message.
(with agency inputs)