While handing down a four-year ban on Narsingh Yadav, the Court of Arbitration for Sports has ruled that the wrestler failed to produce any “real evidence” regarding the sabotage theory he had advanced and the balance of probabilities” was that he orally took the banned substance intentionally in tablet form on more than one occasion.
In its full award, the ad hoc panel of the CAS relied on expert evidence that Narsingh’s dope offence was not due to one-time ingestion of the prohibited substance and its concentration in the first test result (of June 25) was so high that it had to come from an oral ingestion of one or two tablets of methanide-none, rather than from a drink where the powder had been mixed with water.
The expert opinion was given by Professor Christiane Ayotte from Canada who was presented by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Professor Ayotte is a member of IAAF Doping Commission since 1995 and was elected representative of the Heads of IOC Accredited Laboratories in 1995-1996. She is currently the Director of the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal.
Narsingh’s urine sample taken out of competition on June 25 was found to contain metabolites of methanide-none and long term metabolite of methanide-none. Another sample taken out of competition on July 5 was also found to contain long term metabolites of methanide-none.
“All in all found the sabotage (s) theory possible, but not probable and certainly not grounded in any real evidence. The panel therefore determined that the athlete had failed to satisfy his burden of proof and the panel was satisfied that the most likely explanation was that the athlete simply and intentionally ingested the prohibited substance in tablet form on more than one occasion,” the CAS panel said.
The CAS had handed Narsingh a four-year ban in its ‘operative award’ on August 18 barely hours before his 74kg freestyle opening bout was scheduled.
“The panel had to weigh circumstantial evidence of the athlete against scientific evidence of WADA to determine whether it was satisfied with the athlete’s position that he did not take the prohibited substance intentionally. The panel is conscious that expert evidence offered by Professor Ayotte may be susceptible to qualification by other expert (s). However, the panel has no reason to question the scientific data and/or her expert testimony,” the full award said.
Narsingh had submitted that the doping offence was due to sabotage carried out by Jithesh (a junior wrestler and a member of Sushil Kumar’s entourage) by mixing his energy drinks with prohibited substance on either June 23 or 24.
The panel also noted that the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel of the NADA had heard three persons—Paswan, Rahul Kumar and Pankaj Kumar—who had confirmed that they had seen Jithesh trying to contaminate Narsingh’s food earlier on June 5 by pouring some powder into the curry.