WFI throws its weight behind embattled Narsingh

WFI throws its weight behind embattled Narsingh

PM meets WFI chief while wrestler demands CBI probe

WFI throws its weight behind embattled Narsingh
The doping scandal involving wrestler Narsingh Yadav has reached the doorsteps of Prime Minister Narinder Modi who met Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Monday and sought details on the matter.

Earlier in the day, WFI had provided a firm backing to Narsingh insisting they believed in his innocence. Narsingh, who has tested positive for steroid methandienone, has claimed that he had been framed and submitted a written complaint with the WFI citing conspiracy. He has even demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.  Singh said they had no reason not to back Narsingh, whose record had been clean.

“We have a wrestler who has always willingly got dope tested and never in the past turned positive for any substance. Why out of the 120 athletes for Rio, one athlete has been found dope positive. This has never happened in the past. 

“We also feel it is a conspiracy and not only us but the entire country feel the same. He is among the medal prospects, and we would like that country has representation in the 74 kg weight category,” Singh told reporters.

"Narsingh submitted a written complaint to the WFI on July 19, in which he has mentioned name of one SAI official and made allegations against a few others, including players. I have informed the Sports Ministry and people in the Government of India. The government has also taken it seriously and a committee of eminent people has been formed who will be looking into the matter. International body and NADA too have been intimated.”

The hearing of Narsingh’s case will take place on Wednesday. The wrestler will be represented by sports lawyer Vidushpat Singhania. “Narsingh is naturally scared and disturbed but what comes across after talking to him is that he is honest in his claims. We will be following all the procedures and hope for the best,” Singhania said.

With Narsingh’s sparring partner and Greco-Roman wrestler Sandeep Tulsi Yadav also testing positive for the same steroid, it has strengthened the case of contamination, which could be a likely premise for his defence.

Singh, meanwhile, also didn’t rule out a criminal investigation into this issue.  "NADA’s panel will conduct a final hearing on Wednesday. We expect the judgement to come by Thursday.”

Singh said he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that Narsingh got justice. “We were given an option by the SAI Director General to shift after we were intimated by Haryana police about the reports of danger to Narsingh. But it was Narsingh who decided against it as all the coaches were there. But it is now our responsibility to protect an athlete,” he said.

"In a span of one month, there have been three dope tests conducted on Narsingh which raises suspicion.  Why would he take a steroid that has to do with bodybuilding and not wrestling?”

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Vijay Goel said they would be going strictly by the rules in Narsingh’s case. “We are committed to the WADA code. Narsingh’s both ‘A’ and ‘B’ samples returned positive that is why he is provisionally suspended and that is why we say India will be represented by 119 athletes instead of 120.  He will get a fair chance to defend himself. Beyond that there is nothing much we can do in this case," said Goel.

Narsingh was hopeful of making to Rio. “There was a court case I had to fight and then there was CID report about threat to me. This is a conspiracy. But I have backing of a lot of people. I hope I will be able to represent the country in Rio,” he said.