India's hopes for the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016 suffered a huge setback when wrestler Narsingh Yadav and shot-putter Inderjeet Singh were tested positive for banned substances by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
Narsingh, who was selected ahead of the celebrated Sushil Kumar, failed a dope test but insisted that the scandal that has jeopardised his Olympic participation is a conspiracy against him.
NADA Director General Navin Agarwal said Narsingh had tested positive for a banned substance and he appeared before a NADA disciplinary panel. Sources said he had tested positive for methandienone -- a banned anabolic steroid.
28-year-old Inderjeet's 'A' sample has returned positive for a banned substance.
The reigning Asian Champion Inderjeet tested positive for a banned steroid and he has been informed by the National Anti-Doping Agency. His out-of-competition test was done on 22 June.
The drama surrounding the failed dope tests of the two athletes is not the first such instance in the history of Indian sports. There have been quite a few incidents of such nature to have taken place in recent years, here's the list:
Pratima Kumari and Sanamacha Chanu: The news of Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's feat of clinching India's first-ever individual Olympic silver medal in the Athens games in 2004 was short-lived when the news of weightlifters Sanamacha Chanu (53 kg) and Pratima Kumari (63 kg) testing positive for banned substances made headlines during the event.
Pratima was tested positive and banned before the start of the event, but had travelled along with the Indian contingent to Greece, with the Indian camp hiding the news of her ban. It was only when her name was not mentioned in the starting list once the main event began that the lid was lifted on the matter.
Chanu, a 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games champion, was caught during the event, and was subsequently banned for two years along with Pratima. She repeated her offence in 2010, which caused her to miss out on a spot in the Commonwealth Games squad.
Mandeep Kaur, Ashwini Akkunji and Sini Jose: The trio were part of the gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as in the Asian Games. The three however, were found guilty of doping along with four other athletes in a major scandal in 2011, and were handed one-year bans as a result. Then Indian track and field coach Yuri Ogorodnik was also fired as a result of the revelations.
Seema Punia: The ace discus thrower earned the nickname 'millennium child' after winning gold in the World Junior Athletic Championships in 2000 in Santiago, Chile. The joy of the victory, however, did not last long as she was tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a banned substance, which resulted in her getting stripped of her medal and getting an official warning from the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI).
Punia had again tested positive for a banned substance, this time stanozolol, ahead of the 2006 Asian Games, but was exonerated by an AFI panel.
Neelam Jaswant Singh: Punia isn't the only senior female discus thrower to have been caught doping in the past. Neelam Jaswant Singh was tested positive for pemoline, a banned stimulant, during the 2005 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, following which she was handed a two-year ban by the IAAF.
Monika Devi: The Manipuri weightlifter was originally part of the Indian contingent for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was dropped after failing a dope test prior to the Games. Devi was the lone Indian weightlifting entry for the event, but was stopped from boarding the flight to the Chinese capital after the arrival of her doping results.
Rajeev Tomar, Sourabh Vij: Arjuna Award-winning wrestler Tomar had competed in the 2008 Olympics in the 120 kg category. However, his career sustained a downslide in 2010 when he was tested positive for methylhexaneamine in 2010 along with 11 other athletes, among whom were the likes of shot-putter Sourabh Vij, swimmers Amar Muralidharan and Richa Mishra.
(With inputs from PTI)