Will wrestler Narsingh Yadav be banned from the sport for consuming banned substances? Or will the grappler be successful in proving a conspiracy against him?
All eyes are on the National Anti-Doping Agency, which will deliver its verdict on the doping scandal at 4pm on Monday. At stake is Narsingh’s career and India’s reputation in the world of sports, less than a month before the Rio Olympics kick off in Brazil.
The 26-year-old was one of India’s top medal hopes but a sample collected on June 25 tested positive for traces of a banned anabolic steroid. Last Wednesday, his Olympic dreams all but ended after doping officials said another sample collected on July 5 had also tested positive.
Narsingh faces a four-year ban as per the new rules for doping offences. But if the anti-doping agency considers the positive test of July 5 sample as a second doping offence, the grappler could be banned for life.
Narsingh has said he is the victim of a conspiracy and accused a 17-year-old athlete of having spiked his food and water. He has also said that officials at a state-run training camp plotted against him.
The wrestling federation has thrown its weight behind him but the sports ministry has said there is little evidence of a conspiracy.
Narsingh won the chance to go to Rio after a protracted court battle with Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar. But one of Sushil’s sparring partners and understudy, Parveen Rana, has already been named as Narsingh’s replacement for the Rio Olympics.