Narsingh Yadav's dream of competing for his nation at the Rio Olympics came to a grinding halt today morning as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned NADA's ruling, and has imposed a four-year ban on the wrestler. Narsingh, however, has vowed to prove his innocence in the case.
Narsingh Yadav was a relieved man two weeks back when he was finally exonerated from the doping charges. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had accepted his plea that his food was spiked and that he was a victim of sabotage.
He was also assured that he would face no more tests or hindrances in his attempt to secure a medal for India in the 74kg category and had flown to Rio subsequently. But, WADA had soon announced that it would review his case. The world body also confirmed last Tuesday that they have requested the case files from NADA to review the case. Following the inquiry, it was learnt that WADA had filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against Narsingh Yadav's exoneration.
"WADA filed an urgent application before the CAS ad hoc Division to challenge the decision of NADA India to exonerate Narsingh Yadav following two positive anti-doping tests with methandienone on 25 June and 5 July 2016. The athlete asserted that he was the victim of sabotage (food/drink tampering) by another person. WADA requested that a 4-year period of ineligibility be imposed on the athlete.
Narsingh Yadav was sanctioned with a four-year ineligibility period starting today."
"...the parties were informed that the application was upheld, that Narsingh Yadav was sanctioned with a four-year ineligibility period starting today and that any period of provisional suspension or ineligibility effectively served by the athlete before the entry into force of this award shall be credited against the total period of ineligibility to be served. Furthermore, all competitive results obtained by Narsingh Yadav from and including 25 June 2016 shall be disqualified, with all resulting consequences (including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes).
“The CAS Panel did not accept the argument of the athlete that he was the victim of sabotage and noted that there was no evidence that he bore no fault, nor that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional. Therefore, the standard 4-year period of ineligibility was imposed by the Panel," CAS said in a statement after the hearing.
This ruling has virtually ended the 27-year-old's career as a wrestler, who will now be ineligible for the 2020 Olympics as well. He has, however, found backing from his sponsors JSW.
“JSW Sports is deeply disappointed at the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in handing wrestler Narsingh Yadav a four-year ban following an appeal by WADA. Narsingh is, first and foremost, an athlete of India who we at JSW Sports proudly support and will continue doing so. Ever since he has earned a berth to represent the country at the Olympic Games, Narsingh has been put through an ordeal that no athlete should have to ever go through. JSW Sports strongly believes in Narsingh’s innocence and will stand by the wrestler in doing everything to fight for justice. We will be pressing for a review of the decision that WADA would be amenable to if further evidence is found pertaining to sabotage,” JSW said in an official statement on their website.
I will do everything it takes to prove my innocence. It is all I have left to fight for."
Narsingh Yadav has also promised to fight back and prove his innocence.
“To say I am devastated at the decision of CAS would be putting it mildly. I have gone through so much over the last two months off the mat but the thought of fighting for the glory of the nation at the Games had kept me going. My dream of competing and winning the country a medal at the Rio Olympics has been cruelly snatched away from me twelve hours before my first bout, but I will do everything it takes to prove my innocence. It is all I have left to fight for,” Narsingh said in a statement.