Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav is out of the Olympic Games after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) banned him for four years on Thursday (August 18) for a doping violation.
Yadav was due to compete in Friday’s men’s freestyle under-74kg division wrestling competition in Rio. But CAS upheld an appeal by the World Anti-doping Agency against the National Anti-doping Agency of India (NADA) which had decided to exonerate him of blame despite failing two doping tests earlier this year for an anabolic steroid.
“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,” said CAS in a statement.
“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.”
However, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) insisted that unnamed compatriots were responsible for Yadav’s ouster from the Olympics and the four-year ban slapped on him.
“It’s not just a loss for Narsingh at the CAS, but he was beaten by his compatriots who did not want to let him compete at the Olympics and not by his opponents,” IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta, who was part of the four-hour-long hearing in Rio, said after the verdict.
The grappler has maintained all along that his dope test back in India in the run-up to the Games was a result of conspiracy by rivals who spiked his food or drinks.
“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,” Yadav said in a statement.
“My dream of competing and winning the country a medal at the Rio Olympics has been cruelly snatched away from me 12 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,” he added.
Yadav was the fourth athlete to be kicked out of the Games on Thursday for failing a dope test.
Brazilian cyclist Kleber Ramos and Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi were disqualified for the banned blood booster EPO Cera and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide respectively.
Kyrgyzstani weightlifter Izzat Artykov, who won bronze in the men’s under-69kg category, was banned after testing positive for strychnine, a stimulant.