New Delhi, Aug 16 : Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s participation in the Rio Olympics was in jeopardy on Tuesday with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealing in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the clean chit given to him.
“Yes, WADA has appealed the verdict on Narsingh to CAS, which will hear both parties on Thursday August 18,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Indian wrestling’s governing body president, told IANS on Tuesday.
Narsingh is scheduled to open his Rio campaign in the 74 kilogram freestyle category on Friday, August 19, a day after the hearing is scheduled to take place.
“Our lawyer has already acknowledged the WADA letter. We will put a strong defence for Narsingh. He has a good chance of getting cleared,” Brij Bhushan added.
Narsingh, who bagged the quota with a bronze medal finish in last year’s World Championships, first returned positive for a banned steroid following a dope test on June 25 by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
But NADA exonerated him of all the doping charges on August 1, after postponing the verdict twice in July, saying he “was a victim of sabotage done by a competitor”.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) also communicated to the world’s apex wrestling body, the United World Wrestling (UWW) on August 1 that NADA has cleared Narsingh of all the doping-related charges and the 26-year-old would be re-included in the team for the 74kg competition.
UWW gave the green light to Narsingh for participation on August 3. However, Narsingh’s route had to clear the final WADA hurdle to compete, which reviewed the NADA panel verdict and challenged it at CAS for further deliberation.
Narsingh earlier overcame protracted legal hurdles to participate in Rio after getting dragged into a bitter courtroom tussle by two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar over representing the country in the 74kg freestyle category.
Narsingh was preferred over Sushil by WFI to take part in the Games, that fuelled a major legal battle between the two grapplers.
Sushil missed the qualification for Rio due to injury, and Narsingh secured the berth to represent the country. After repeatedly requesting WFI to hold trials anew, Sushil moved the court.
But the Delhi High Court on June 6 dismissed his plea, clearing Narsingh’s path.
After NADA’s clearance, Sushil conveyed his best wishes to the Mumbai wrestler for success at Rio.