Narsingh intentionally doped, took tablets more than once, rules CAS

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Narsingh intentionally doped, took tablets more than once, rules CAS

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SportsCafe Desk

08/22/2016

Setting aside the sabotage theory, the Court of Arbitration for Sports banned Narsingh Yadav for four years from competitive sport. The Court ruled that he had intentionally taken the drug orally on more than one occasion, but allowed for a reversal if the sabotage was proved in an Indian court.

In a dramatic turn of events after he was originally exonerated by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), Narsingh Yadav was banned for a period of four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) a day before he was set to participate in his first bout of the 74kg wrestling event. The wrestler had traveled to Rio but was asked to leave the Olympics village immediately after the judgment.

The transcript of the decision by the CAS ad hoc panel has stated that Narsingh's results were not the outcome of a one-time ingestion and could have come from only an oral ingestion of one or two tablets, reported PTI. The judgment took into account the concentration of the substance found in his blood to arrive upon the conclusion and also ruled out the possibility of a drink that was spiked with the substance.

The clinching evidence appears to have been the concentration of the drug and the presence of long-term metabolic products of methandienone in both samples taken on 25 June and on 5 July – ruling out the sabotage angle of one-time addition to his drink.

"...all in all found the sabotage (s) theory possible, but not probable and certainly not grounded in any real evidence. The panel therefore determined that the athlete had failed to satisfy his burden of proof and the panel was satisfied that the most likely explanation was that the athlete simply and intentionally ingested the prohibited substance in tablet form on more than one occasion," the CAS panel said, reported PTI.

Weighing the case on the basis of expert evidence provided by its counsel, the panel handed over the four-year ban to the athlete.

"The panel had to weigh circumstantial evidence of the athlete against scientific evidence of WADA to determine whether it was satisfied with the athlete's position that he did not take the prohibited substance intentionally. The panel is conscious that expert evidence offered by Professor Ayotte may be susceptible to qualification by other expert (s). However, the panel has no reason to question the scientific data and/or her expert testimony," the full award said.

Narsingh had pleaded his innocence saying that he had been fed the banned substance without his knowledge after it was mixed in his energy drink or food by Jithesh, a sparring partner of another wrestler at Sonepat. The theory gained credence in the wake of Narsingh's room-mate as well failing a dope test after which both cited the sabotage by the third person as the cause. But, the CAS ruled out the possibility after finding that the room-mate's (Sandeep Yadav) ingestion was not at the same time.

"He (Sandeep) had the parent compound of methandienone in his test results, so he must have taken the substance after the athlete (Narsingh), as opposed to both having their drinks spike at the same training session," the panel said, reported PTI.

The report accepted the expert's argument that there was at least 12-20 hours difference between the ingestion of the substance by Narsingh and his room-mate.

However, a criminal case has been filed against Jithesh, and WADA said that it would re-appeal the current decision at the CAS in case sabotage was proved at an Indian Court.

WADA refused to accept Narsingh's plea that it was unintentional saying the dosage cannot have resulted from a suspension in water as it would have been clearly visible given the substance was highly insoluble. While not ruling out the plausibility, the Court refused to accept the probability of the event.

"He cannot establish the source of the prohibited substance. He has merely claimed that his drink must have been spiked during a training session on 23 or 24 June 2016. There is no evidence relating to this, only evidence that his food was allegedly tampered with some 20 days before," the WADA said.

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