Four months back when the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) officials knocked at the doors of the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Sonepat centre in Haryana to collect urine samples of wrestlers preparing for Rio, they were reportedly intimidated and beat a hasty retreat. The country’s top wrestlers refused to give their urine samples for out-of-competition testing, giving rise to speculation that there was something wrong. Then Nada chief, Rajvir Singh, it is learnt, reported the incident to SAI’s top officials, including regional director Radhika Sreeman.
Top Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) officials too were apprised of the incident, which could have had far reaching repercussions had NADA taken stern action. According to the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) anti-violation rules, three missed tests in a year is equivalent to a positive test, translating into a four-year suspension from active competition.
The Nada chief could also have marked the wrestlers absent, but he let them off with a verbal warning. Though the Nada officials returned to collect the samples after a few days, it reportedly gave time to the athletes to ‘manage things’. The federation neither issued a warning to the wrestlers nor did it ask the wrestlers to show cause as to why they tried to oppose the sample collection if they were clean.
Had the WFI taken a serious note of the episode and examined the dietary supplements of the grapplers, the Narsingh Yadav embarrassment could have been averted.