Indian wrestler cleared of doping

India's anti-doping agency yesterday 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 yesterday 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."

Yadav, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 74kg freestyle category, appeared at the 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 are ranked third on a global list of doping offenders compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency. - AFP.

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