MUMBAI: Stopped by a four-year dope ban and stalled by the ongoing Central Bureau of India investigation into it, Narsingh Yadav is growing despondent at the prospect of watching from the sidelines as the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games roll on this year.
The Mumbai-based wrestler, who was banned days before the 2016 Rio Olympics, said he has been doing the rounds in CBI and politicians’ office to get an update on the case or speed up the process, but is being given the cold shoulder. “I go to Delhi, ten days in a row if required to go at sit in some ministers’ office or the CBI office but they are all turning a deaf ear,” a frustrated Narsingh said in Mumbai during an interview. “It’s been two years since the case was registered and nothing is being done. Every day I call them, they don’t even take calls. I was hoping I would be cleared at least in time for CWG (April) or the Asian Games (September) but I don’t know what’s happening.”
After much drama, Yadav, 28, had been picked as India’s entry to the 74kg freestyle wrestling event over two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar since he had won the quota place by claiming a bronze at the 2015 Worlds. But the wrestler tested positive for methandienone in two tests, conducted on June 25 and July 5 which put his Olympic participation in jeopardy.
Even though Yadav was given the go-ahead by the National Anti-Doping Agency, he was not cleared by the World Anti-doping Agency. A day before his bout, the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed him a four-year ban. The wrestler claimed sabotage from a rival faction in SAI’s Sonepat complex and lodged a complaint with the CBI.
“I was the one who got the CBI involved,” says Yadav. “WADA had a simple rule that if you get the CBI or police to investigate and determine that it’s a case of sabotage, then the ban gets lifted. Why would I dope? I’m going to the Olympics, I know they’re going to test me there. Why would I do such a thing? That too a drug that makes you put on weight.”
Yadav stated he had even sought help from the Sports Minister, former Olympics medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and the Prime Minister’s office, but hasn’t had much success. “I am not asking them to give me a clean chit. I’m just asking them to see if the case can be speeded up, or if there is any update,” he said.
“It’s been two years already. I even told them that I am ready to do a narco test, but they are paying no heed to it. If the Asian Games also get over, then there are no big events left. There’s no point. In four year’s time anyway the ban will be over and I can try qualifying for the Olympics on my own. An athlete’s career is very short, and I have already lost two important years.”
Yadav’s ban is supposed to run till March 2020, shortening the window for him to make the Tokyo Games cut. The wrestler, though, is still training six-eight hours daily to keep himself fit.