New Delhi, July 28: The suspense over wrestler Narsingh Yadav's Olympic participation was today (July 28) prolonged further after the National Anti-Doping Agency deferred its final verdict on the doping scandal surrounding him to Saturday (July 30) or Monday (August 1) at the end of a two-day hearing here.
A day after Narsingh and his lawyers presented their case on the failed dope test, which, according to them, was a conspiracy against the grappler, NADA's legal team gave its arguments against the sabotage theory before the disciplinary committee.
"Hearing has been concluded today. The judgment will come out either on Saturday or Monday," NADA's lawyer Gaurang Kanth told reporters at the end of the hearing today (July 28). ('Narsingh may have been tricked')
"The argument put forth by NADA is that he's not eligible for remission which he has been asking for because he has failed to establish that he did not commit any fault or negligence. And since he has not been able to establish how the banned substance had entered his body, we argued that he should be given punishment," he said.
"Narsingh did not produce the relevant circumstantial evidence that there could have been sabotage as had been claimed by them. They filed an affidavit that his drinks or water was spiked but they did not produce the evidence to prove it to satisfy NADA or WADA Code," he argued. ('Narsingh is innocent')
The wrestler, who has alleged the involvement of fellow grapplers in the conspiracy, has already been replaced by Parveen Rana in the Olympic bound squad but will be reinstated if he gets a favourable verdict from NADA.
Not enough proof
NADA's lawyer, however, today said that Narsingh's claims of conspiracy or sabotage are not backed by sufficient proof.
"The argument advanced by them is that they are eligible for remission under 10.4 of WADA Code. But the argument put forth by NADA is that he is not eligible for remission because they have to show that he has no fault and negligence as far as contamination is concerned and they have to lead evidence to the extent that all these have been done without his knowledge and he has no clue how the substance detected had entered into his body," Kanth said.
Rule 10.4 in WADA's 2016 Code says that 'If an athlete or other person establishes in an individual case that he or she bears no fault or negligence, then the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility shall be eliminated. They will only apply in exceptional circumstances, for example, where an athlete could prove that, despite all due care, he or she was sabotaged by a competitor.'
"We argued that the requirements of due diligence and care which was needed to escape from punishment was not provided as to satisfy the WADA Code. So we said he should be given punishment as appropriate this panel thinks fit.
"We said as an international athlete he should have taken due care about his food and drinks. But from what he had produced before the panel there was nothing to prove due care on his part," Kanth said.
Narsingh's hopes of competing in the Rio Olympics had faded further after the wrestler failed a second dope test which was conducted on him on July 5.
It is learnt that Narsingh, already under provisional suspension for failing a June 25 dope test, has also flunked the second test done on his 'A' sample and refused the 'B' sample test.
Asked about Narsingh's July 5 sample also returning positive, the NADA lawyer said, "Both the test results were before this panel and both the results were considered. The July 5 dope failure will be considered as a continuation (of the June 25 dope failure) as per the NADA Code. It will be considered as one offence."
'Hopeful he will be exonerated'
Earlier yesterday, Narsingh and his battery of lawyers presented their case.
"We have put Narsingh's argument. We have full faith in the NADA panel. We are trying to convince them. We are hopeful he will be exonerated. NADA panel is helpful. We have presented our argument today and panel was very patient and we had a very fair hearing. NADA will present their case tomorrow," Narsingh's lawyer Vidushpat Singhania had said.
On a second successive day of chaos at the NADA headquarters, Narsingh's supporters shouted slogans demanding justice for him.
The wrestler has also filed a police complaint, implicating two fellow wrestlers. However, his supplements have reportedly been found to be clean.
Narsingh filed an FIR at the Sonepat Police Station naming two fellow wrestlers, one of them a 17-year-old, and persisted with his demand for a CBI probe into the scandal that has sent shockwaves into the Indian sporting fraternity. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has backed Narsingh.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel, on the other hand, has stuck to his stand that the government will abide by international rules when it comes to deciding on Narsingh's trip to Rio in the aftermath of the controversy.
Narsingh had been picked ahead of two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar after he won the quota place with a bronze medal in the World Championships. Freestyle wrestler Rana had earlier won a gold medal in the 74kg category at the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament in USA in 2014.