Rio 2016: Yadav is framed, says WFI chief

It was not long ago that Sports Authority of India’s top official suggested Narsingh Yadav to stay away from the Sonepat centre. The reason given to this 74kg category grappler was simple and straight – ‘Sonepat is a den of people who don’t want to see you in the team. And, there could well be conspiracy hatched against you in order to stop you from going to Rio Games’.

On Monday, when Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh openly threw his weight behind Yadav, whose Olympic dream is as good as over after a failed dope test, the conspiracy theory was all that was being discussed here.

“The federation truly believes that Narsingh is being framed. Injustice has happened with him and we are hopeful he will get justice,”said the WFI president despite knowing well that National Anti-Doping Agency’s panel is deliberating on the quantum of punishment now.

The WFI chief cited Yadav’s clean past and said “it would be foolish on the part of anyone to even think of taking a banned substance just days before the Olympics”.

“Narsingh complained in writing to us that a conspiracy has been hatched against him and the entire nation and I believe him because he has nothing to do with the substance,” he added.

Minutes later, in another press conference called by sports minister Vijay Goel, a similar issue was being discussed by many top sports ministry officials but all ‘off the record’.

Yadav, who was in the news recently for winning the court battle against double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, has been handed provisional suspension after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Everyone kept hoping against hope that Yadav would get a clean chit in the final NADA hearing on Wednesday. But in their minds, it was almost clear that the writing was on the wall already.

“No one can escape ban after found guilty of dope,” said a senior official, hinting that it’s just the quantum of punishment which is a matter to wait for.

Yadav, has, meanwhile, kept emphasising on the conspiracy angle and how he and his room-mate, Sandeep Yadav, have fallen victim to it.

“Sandeep is not even part of Rio team, then why would he take banned substance?” Narsingh pleaded before the NADA panel. Sandeep, who competes in the 66-kg Greco-Roman category, had won bronze in the 2013 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest.