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Rio-bound Indian wrestler cleared of doping

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Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav hopes of competing in Rio Olympics appeared dashed after he tested positive for a banned substance and faced a National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) panel hearing in New Delhi last week © AFP/File / Raveendran

NEW DELHI, India, Aug 1India’s anti-doping agency Monday revived wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s hopes of Olympics glory by clearing him of consuming a banned substance, declaring his food had been spiked by a rival.

The 26-year-old Yadav’s hopes of competing in Brazil this month appeared dashed after he tested positive for a banned substance and faced a National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) panel hearing in New Delhi last week.

But a NADA official who addressed journalists on Monday said the panel had concluded Yadav had not been aware of his one-time ingestion of the banned substance and instead endorsed his claims of sabotage.

“The panel concludes that the athlete deserves the benefit of Article 10.4 for the anti-doping rules of NADA, as there is no fault or negligence on his part and he is a victim of sabotage done by a competitor,” said NADA director general Navin Agarwal.

“Keeping in view the facts and circumstance, the panel exonerates the athlete from charges of violating anti-doping rule of NADA,” he added, without naming the rival suspected of spiking Yadav’s food.

Yadav, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 74-kilogram freestyle category, appeared at the NADA hearing along with his lawyers.

He was backed by the Wrestling Federation of India, which supported his claims of being a victim of sabotage.

Yadav earned his place to Rio after winning the World Championships bronze and was picked ahead of India’s double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.

A beaming Yadav, who addressed the media after the NADA panel’s decision, said he now hoped to win a medal in Rio.

“I thank everyone who have backed me and stood by the truth,” he said.

India, which has a dismal medal record at the Olympics, is ranked third on a global list of doping offenders compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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