Indian-born Australian wrestler Vinod Kumar has been hit with a doping ban of four years and will miss next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Wrestling Australia has been asked by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) to withdraw Kumar from the Olympic team after the wrestler, who competes in the Greco-Roman 66 kilograms division, tested positive for an unnamed substance at the African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier in Algiers in Algeria in April. It was confirmed by the AOC that both his A and B samples returned positive results after he had secured a Rio 2016 spot at the event in the Algerian capital.

Kumar protested his innocence and his coach Kostya Ermakovich remarked he will appeal against the suspension. Kumar’s coach insisted his wrestler has “done nothing wrong” and is “devastated” as Kumar now looks likely to be axed from the Australian team for Rio 2016. Ermakovich claimed the positive test could have occurred as the wrestler does not speak good English and may have misread the labels on a protein shake he was taking. The coach claimed Vinod’s English is really poor and maybe he couldn’t read the labels properly or the protein shakes didn’t have a full description of their ingredients.

In a statement, the AOC said the Australian Olympic Committee has asked Wrestling Australia to withdraw the nomination of athlete Vinod Kumar for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games following an anti-doping violation. The statement further reads that the international federation, United World Wrestling (UWW), has advised they will reallocate his position in the 66kg division to the next best ranked National Olympic Committee.

The 31-year-old wrestler has 30 days to contest the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Kumar, one of two Australians to have qualified for the Greco-Roman discipline and a six-time national champion, had been training in Australia since he arrived as a student in 2010.  In 2010, Kumar immigrated to Australia and first competed for his adopted country in March. Vinod started wrestling at age of eight and hails from a small village of Khanda in Haryana, India. The wrestler participated in state and national competitions for a period of four years and also competed in the popular Indian sport of dirt wrestling. He has so far claimed six national championships and countless medals at the Australia Cup and Canberra Cup tournaments and represented the green and gold for the first time at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand in March, where he bagged the gold medal.

Kumar, who was thrown from a speeding train by the family of a rival in India before landing on his feet in Australia, competed at junior national tournaments across India from a young age. The wrestler worked as a courier and a bouncer at nightclubs to earn money and remarks he owes friends up to A$15,000 ($10,800).

The international wrestling body, United World Wrestling, has indicated the position of Kumar will not be reallocated to another Australian. The profile of Vinod Kumar has already been taken down from the Australian Olympic Team’s website.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Indian-Born Australian Wrestler To Miss Rio Olympics