Wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s ordeal just got longer as the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) on Thursday postponed the verdict over his dope case by a couple of days.
The NADA panel will now announce its verdict on Saturday or Monday.
While Narsingh and his battery of lawyers had put forward his arguments on Wednesday, the legal representive of the national anti-doping body said on Thursday that the star wrestler has not been able to convincingly prove his claims that his food had been spiked.
“Argument by NADA was that Narsingh is not eligible for remission which he has been asking,” NADA lawyer Gaurang Kanth told the media at the end of Thursday’s hearing.
“How the substance entered Narsingh’s body could not be well established by them. We have stated that the plea taken by him that he is under no fault and he had been negligent (at the SAI training centre in Sonipat) is not correct and that will not hold any ground,” he added.
“The quantum of punishment can be four years, or it can be reduced to two years. Depends on when the judgement will be coming out.”
A desolate Narsingh, meanwhile, is still hopeful of representing the country at the Rio Olympics, which are scheduled to run from August 5 to 21.
“I am continuing my practice. I am hopeful of going to Rio. Hopefully everything will be clear by Saturday of Monday,” he told reporters.
Narsingh’s chances of participating in the upcoming Rio Games came under a cloud last Sunday when he returned a positive result for a dope test conducted by the NADA on June 25.
The 26-year-old’s ‘B’ sample also tested positive for a banned substance, jeopardising his chances of competing in what will be his second Summer Olympic Games.
Following this, the Mumbai-based grappler, who was selected to represent the country in the men’s 74kg freestyle category ahead of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, was handed a provisional suspension.
He ran into further trouble on Wednesday after it was announced that a second test conducted on July 5 has also returned a positive result.
Narsingh’s roommate at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Sonepat, Sandeep Tulsi Yadav, also failed a NADA dope test on Monday and according to sources, both the grapplers have tested positive for the same banned substance — methandienone.
Narsingh had claimed of a conspiracy to frame him and had filed a police report in this regard, although he refrained from naming anyone. Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhishan Sharan Singh had alleged on Tuesday that two junior wrestlers from the Chhatarsaal Stadium had mixed banned substances in his food.
Meanwhile, under pressure from the United World Wrestling, the WFI had on Monday named Parveen Rana for the replacement slot in order to preserve India’s Olympic quota in the 74kg freestyle category.
Rana has already flown to Georgia where he will train with the Indian wrestling team for the remaining part of their training stint before the Rio Games.