His dream of representing India at Rio Olympics shattered after being banned handed a four-year ban for failing a dope test , wrestler Narsingh Yadav said he would do everything to prove his innocence.
In a stunning reversal of fortunes, the wrestler was ousted from the Olympics on Thursday night and banned from all competitions for four years after the ad hoc division of court of arbitration for sports (CAS) overturned the clean chit given to him by India’s national anti-doping agency (NADA).
“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,” Narsingh, who was to fight in men’s 74kg category, said.
“But I will do everything it takes to prove my innocence. It is all I have left to fight for,” he said in a statement issued by his sponsors JSW Sports.
The statement said a review of the decision could be filed if further evidence was found to back the claim of sabotage made by Narsingh.
“We will be pressing for a review of the decision that WADA (world anti-doping agency) would be amenable to if further evidence is found pertaining to sabotage,” it said.
“JSW Sports strongly believes in Narsingh’s innocence and will stand by the wrestler in doing everything to fight for justice,” it added.
WADA had appealed against the NADA all-clear to Narsingh at the ad hoc division of the CAS at Rio, three days ahead of his opening bout.
“... the parties were informed that the application was upheld, that Narsingh Yadav was sanctioned with a four-year ineligibility period starting today and that any period of provisional suspension or ineligibility effectively served by the athlete before the entry into force of this award shall be credited against the total period of ineligibility to be served,” CAS said in a statement after the hearing, which lasted four hours.
It said all results obtained by Narsingh from and including 25 June 2016 would be “disqualified”. The CAS panel did not accept the argument that Narsingh was the victim of sabotage and said there was no evidence that he bore no fault, nor that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional. “Therefore the standard four-year period of ineligibility was imposed by the Panel,” it added.
The verdict put an end to a sordid controversy that began with the wrestler failing a June 25 test.
The 27-year-old’s name appeared in the Olympic schedule after he underwent the mandatory weigh-in. He was to take on France’s Zelimkhan Khadjiev in the qualification round.
The grappler has maintained all along that his dope test was a result of conspiracy by rivals who spiked his food or drinks.