Wrestling body backs 'innocent' Narsingh, Centre stays mum (Roundup)
New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhusan Sharan Singh on Monday backed dope-tainted grappler Narsingh Yadav, claiming that he was framed, while the central government opted to wait for the probe to complete.
The 26-year-old on Sunday flunked a dope test after his 'B' sample tested positive for a banned substance, jeopardising his chances of competing in what will be his second Summer Olympic Games.
The WFI, however, stood strongly behind its 74kg candidate, as the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is expected to deliver its final decision on Wednesday.
"I believe Narsingh is an innocent guy. He can't do it. He has been tested so many times in the past also, and had never failed any test. I am sure it's a conspiracy," Singh told reporters here.
"We want justice for Narsingh. If he has said he did not take drugs, he must be heard. I hope the committee does justice to Narsingh," he added.
Singh's comments came after Narsingh's roommate at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Sonepat, Sandeep Tulsi also failed a NADA dope test on Monday. This has come as a second big shock to India after Narsingh failed two dope tests, as reported on Sunday.
According to sources, both the grapplers have tested positive for the same banned substance -- methandienone.
"The fact that Narsingh's roommate at the camp has also tested positive for the same substance, it clearly looks to be a foul play. Both the wrestlers were consuming the same supplements as they were roommates. It raises suspicion," WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar said.
"There was a high quantity of steroid in the sample, which is hard to believe. It seems like a deliberate thing. Why would anyone take such high dose," he questioned.
Asked if anyone else in the camp has also failed the dope test, the official replied in negative.
"No. Only these two guys have failed it and this clearly indicates that something is wrong," he said.
On Sunday, NADA Director General Navin Agarwal confirmed that Narsingh's 'B' sample tested positive for a banned substance.
Narsingh, who managed to get the Rio ticket in the 74kg weight category after a series of controversies with two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, again claimed innocence and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
He said it was a conspiracy against him.
"This is a conspiracy against me. I have never taken any banned substance. CBI probe should be conducted," said Narsingh, who took India's berth in the 74kg category at the Rio Games by winning a bronze medal at last year's World Championships in Las Vegas.
"I am doing so well, why would I even take banned steroids?"
The 26-year-old has been handed provisional suspension and virtually ruled out of next month's Olympics after his accreditation was withheld.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Vijay Goel refrained from giving a direct reply on the status of the probe but said the Mumbai-based grappler can only represent the nation if he gets a clean chit from NADA.
"Narsingh Yadav has been suspended provisionally, will be allowed to go if NADA exonerates him," Goel told reporters here, while announcing a mass run 'Run for Rio', to be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
"He is under provisional suspension, so 119 athletes will represent India in Rio. Right now full inquiry is not complete so can't say if Narsingh will go to Rio or not," he added.
WFI chief Bhusan Sharan Singh also trashed media reports of him calling on the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter.
"No, there is no truth in these reports. I did not meet him today....I had a meeting with him but it was last week," Singh told IANS.
It can be noted that India's chances to name a replacement are quite slim as the final list has already been sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nearly a week ago. IOC rules allow an replacement after the deadline only if an athlete is injured.