In another twist to the Narsingh Yadav doping scandal, the Indian Olympic Association on Tuesday, asked United World Wrestling to replace Narsingh with Parveen Rana in the 74kg category of wrestling for Rio Olympics.
“The Indian Olympic Association informed United World Wrestling of their desire to enter Parveen Rana as their nation’s replacement at 74kg in men’s freestyle,” the UWW statement said.
Barely 10 days before the start of the Olympics, Narsingh Yadav failed a dope test conducted by National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), a development which had cast doubts on his participation in the Rio Games.
“His name is sent as date of replacement was given as
July 25 and that’s why the name is sent to the world body. We would still hope Narsingh is proved innocent and goes to Rio,” WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said on Narsingh’s replacement Parveen Rana.
Controversy had surrounded Narsingh’s selection as double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar had also staked his claim to represent the country in the 74kg freestyle category.
But Narsingh was favoured as he had earned the Olympic quota in the World Championships in 2015. Narsingh had to fight a lengthy legal battle against Sushil to get the chance to represent India at the Olympics.
Following the failed dope test, Narsingh was handed provisional suspension and his Olympics accreditation was withheld. Sports Minister Vijay Goel also hinted that Narsingh’s prospects of participating at the Rio Olympics were virtually over.
Earlier, after the failed dope test, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had thrown its weight behind Narsingh, saying the grappler is a victim of a conspiracy.
Doubting foul play, WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had said that the federation believes Narsingh is innocent and will support him to the hilt.
“The federation believes Narsingh is innocent. Injustice has happened with him and we are hopeful he will get justice. I will try my level best to help Narsingh get out of this problem so that he can represent India in 74kg in the Olympics and win a medal,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had told a press conference on Monday.
The WFI chief had said Narsingh has a clean record and would be foolish to jeopardise his career by taking a banned substance just days before the Olympics.
“It is our duty to protect Narsingh and all our wrestlers. Narsingh’s record is clean. He is someone who never shied away from dope tests,” he said.
According to a report in Hindustan Times the WFI had initially planned to have Jitender as a standby for Narsingh, thereby virtually ruling out Sushil Kumar’s hopes.
However, all is not lost for Narsingh. If he is cleared by NADA, then he can still be reinstated. But it’s a tough road because if there are any traces of dope still in his body, then that would rule out his chances.
Narsingh’s replacement, Parveen Rana, is regarded as Sushil Kumar’s understudy. He had won a gold medal two years ago in the 74kg category at the Dave Schultz Memorial wrestling tournament in USA and another gold medal in the 70kg category at the International Wrestling Tournament in Sassari City, Italy in 2015.