India names Parveen Rana as Rio replacement for wrestler Narsingh Yadav
Yadav has lodged a police complaint against a junior wrestler accusing him of contaminating his food at the Sports Authority of India training centre. In photo: Narsingh Yadav won the 74kg men's freestyle wrestling at the Commonwealth Games 2010. Photograph: (AFP)
The United Wrestling Federation (UWF) has confirmed in a statement that Parveen Rana will compete in men's 74kg freestyle at Rio, replacing Yadav whose samples from an out-of-competition test returned positive for a banned steroid. Yadav has lodged a police complaint against a junior wrestler accusing him of contaminating his food at the Sports Authority of India training centre in Sonepat.
"We at the federation also believe that he has been a victim of conspiracy and the person behind it has also been identified," Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told Reuters.
"The UWF gave us time until July 25 to announce a replacement or vacate the qualification spot. So the immediate task was to protect the spot. If we did not name a replacement, even Narsingh, provided he gets a clean chit, won't be able to compete at Rio. At least, we are now sure of sending someone in the event."
Yadav secured India a berth at the Games by winning a bronze medal at last year's world championships in Las Vegas. The 26-year-old, however, had his Olympic berth in jeopardy when Sushil Kumar, who won bronze in the 66kg category in Beijing in 2008 and silver in London, moved up a weight and sought a court order for a bout between the pair to determine who should go to Rio.
Last month, the Delhi High Court ruled against Kumar, the only Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals, clearing the way for Yadav to compete in Rio. Yadav was provided police security, a rare measure for an Indian athlete, at the Sonepat training centre due to possible threats to his life.
Asked if it meant end of Yadav's dreams to compete at Rio, Tomar said, "If he manages to get a clean chit from NADA, we'd approach the governing body to allow him to compete there."