Wrestler Satish Kumar was given Rs 25 lakh as compensation by a Delhi court for being wrongly restrained from taking part in the 2002 Asian Games due to the accusations of taking performance-enhancing drugs. Kumar won the gold medal for the country at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
He was selected by the Wrestling Federation of India on August 25, 2000, as a part of the Indian contingent for the Asian Games. The Sports Authority of India conducted a dope test for those players and since his sample did not test positive, nothing adverse was informed to him. But, on September 26, 2000, he visited Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium but he was stopped and told that he could not go to Busan because his dope test report is positive.
While directing the WFI to pay the compensation to Kumar, the court made a scathing remark saying that the way sportspersons are treated by the federations speaks volumes on why India is struggling for medals in global competitions.
"The work culture at WFI is found to be grossly wanting in taking care of the careers of budding wrestlers who toil hard for the nation and take pride in wearing the Indian flag," the Delhi court said in its 30-page judgment as reported by PTI.
"Sportspersons of the caliber of Kumar are already rare in India and the way they are treated by federations led by non-sporting bosses speaks volumes on why India is still struggling for medals in Olympics and Asiads."
Later, in inquiry, it got cleared that he was wrongly stopped from going out of the country for the event and it was a case of mistaken identity as he was confused with another wrestler of the same name who hailed from West Bengal. The West Bengal wrestler was then banned for two years after testing positive in the dope test.
"It is clear that WFI messed up the whole issue and concluded that the letter issued by Manmohan Singh for Indian Olympic Association (IOA) pertains to Satish Kumar of Punjab, even though it was for Satish Kumar of West Bengal".
"They (WFI) should have exercised due diligence and care because other than the initial name 'Satish Kumar', there is nothing common between the two wrestlers. The plaintiff (Kumar) is 97 kg category, whereas the other Satish Kumar was 57 kg category wrestler," the court said.
Kumar employed with the CISF continued to give his best for the country and won gold medals for India at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the World Police Games in Los Angeles.
In his petition, Kumar had sought Rs 30 lakh in damages, alleging that the false implication did not only hurt his feelings but also feelings of his family and relatives and it lowered his moral and esteem in the eyes of acquaintances and well-wishers.