Narsingh Yadav’s entry to the Indian contingent for Rio Olympics was dramatic. His possible ouster from the Games could be even more startling. Whether the Maharashtra Police officer and World Championship bronze medallist was himself responsible for his undoing or he was a victim of a conspiracy will be known in time to come. But one thing is certain – his Olympic dream has been dealt a big blow. So have the hopes of thousands of his fans that stood by him when Sushil Kumar dragged him to court for a spot in the Indian squad for Rio.
A private television news channel has quoted Narsingh saying that he was a victim of a conspiracy. Narsingh is also believed to have explained this angle to NADA panel. Reportedly he has implicated a senior official of Sports Authority of India (SAI) also.
Even if one goes by what the champion wrestler claims, it does not absolve him of the charge. According to World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) ruling an athlete is responsible for what is found in his stomach. And in Narsingh’s case the banned substance found in his sample was Methandieone and according to a top globally known anti-doping expert it is a "hard core performance-enhancing steroid".
WFI has handed Narsingh a provisional suspension. The federation has also just withdrawn Narsingh’s Olympic accreditation. Technically this just stops him from going to Rio but hypothetically he can still compete in some other competition.
Back to Narsingh’s claim of a conspiracy. If what he says has substance, a proper enquiry should be conducted and the guilty be served strictest punishment. The ugly act amounts treason. The possibility of sabotage does exist. In national camps athletes are advised not to trust even their roommates. And campers are very particular what they drink, from whom they take even a glass of water and basically what goes down their system.
According to experts Methandieone is not something that you find in food supplements. Only someone who has a sporting background will have access to this steroid.
On Saturday, Narsingh met Mr Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, President of WFI to give him his side of the story. Now, the important question is can India replace Narsingh with another wrestler in the same weight category? No one seems to know if for sure.
Logically, India’s berth (Narsingh Yadav) should go vacant and be given to a wrestler from another country. Narsingh could have been replaced by another Indian on medical ground. But since he has been accused of doping or cheating the resultant punishment has to be shared by the country, national federation and the national Olympic committee. Therefore, there may not be any Indian representative in 74-kg freestyle event in the Rio Games.