Indian wrestling medal hope Babita Kumari is faced with uncertainty about her participation in the Olympics, thanks to a latest WADA development, less than a month before the Games begin in Rio.
Babita qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after Mongolian wrestler Sumiya Erdenechimeg failed a dope test in the recent Asian qualifiers, where she had beaten Babita in the semi-finals. But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has now reinstated Sumiya, clearing her passage to the Rio Games.
Following WADA’s revised decision, the United World Wrestling (UWW), the international body governing the sport, has re-allotted Sumiya a place in the women’s draw in the 53-kg category.
Currently, it is unclear how Babita will find a place in the draw. It will be a big blow to Indian wrestling and medal hopes if Babita is made to stay out of the Olympics.
The UWW, in its intimation to the Mongolian Wrestling Federation, has confirmed Sumiya’s participation in the Games.
In his message to the Mongolian federation, UWW Secretary General Michel Dusson has said, "Following the first notice of WADA, the result of your wrestler, Sumiya Erdenechimeg had to be cancelled in view of her positive doping result for meldonium during the Asian qualifiers event. Last week WADA used a revised position about meldonium and in accordance with this new notice and due to the circumstances of this particular case, we are now able, in view of her urgency, to reinstate her result. I am therefore glad to inform you that we allocate one spot in women’s 53 kg wrestling to your country.’’
Vinod Tomar, Assistant Secretary of Wrestling Federation of India, is worried about Babita's participation. "UWW had allotted an Olympic spot to Babita and had informed us. How can they keep her out?’’ he said.
Babita is not the only wrestler affected by this latest development. WADA has reinstated several wrestlers from all over the world, notable among them being Oksana Herhel, Andrei Kivkowski, Andrew Kvyatkovs and Oksani Herhel and Magomedmurad Gadzhiev.
With the Games scheduled to begin on 5 August, it remains to be seen what this will mean for Babita.