The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has ruled that Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav failed to produce any “real evidence” regarding the sabotage theory he had advanced. The CAS imposed a doping ban of four years on the wrestler to shut down all his hopes of making it big in the Rio Olympics.

The CAS panel said there may be a possibility of the sabotage theory but it is not probable and certainly not grounded in any real evidence. The panel ruled it is therefore determining 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 full CAS award said 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. It was further added that the CAS panel is conscious that expert evidence offered by Professor Ayotte may be susceptible to qualification by other expert (s) but the panel has no reason to question the scientific data and/or her expert testimony.

The CAS ruled that the balance of probabilities was that Narsingh orally took the banned substance intentionally in tablet form on more than one occasion. The ad hoc panel of the CAS in its full award relied on expert evidence that the doping offence of Narsingh 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 oral ingestion of one or two tablets of Methandienone, rather than from a drink where the powder had been mixed with water. This expert opinion was provided by Professor Christiane Ayotte from Canada who was presented by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Professor Ayotte, currently the Director of the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Is a member of IAAF Doping Commission since 1995 and was elected representative of the Heads of IOC Accredited Laboratories in 1995-1996.

The urine sample of Narsingh Yadav taken out-of competition on 25 June was found to contain metabolites of Methandienone and long term metabolite of Methandienone. His other sample taken out-of competition on 5 July was also found to contain long term metabolites of Methandienone.

Narsingh had claimed that the doping offence was because of sabotage carried out by Jithesh (a junior wrestler and a member of Sushil Kumar’s entourage) who mixed his energy drinks with prohibited substance on either 23 or 24 June. The panel said that the reading of the long term metabolite in his second test of 5 July was consistent with the second ingestion towards the end of June 2016. The CAS panel ruled that the ingestion by Narsingh’s roommate was not at the same time and added Sandeep had the parent compound of Methandienone in his test results, so he must have taken the substance after the athlete (Narsingh), as opposed to both having their drinks spike at the same training session.

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