Indian Rio hopefuls claim innocence on doping

AP News
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Posted: Jul 26, 2016 4:08 AM
Indian Rio hopefuls claim innocence on doping

NEW DELHI (AP) — Two Indian competitors have proclaimed their innocence after testing positive for banned steroids just days before they were to leave for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was to represent India in the 74-kilogram category at the Olympics, said his food supplements were spiked, causing the positive test.

On Tuesday, shotput medal hope Inderjeet Singh, who had won a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games, was told by India's National Anti-Doping Agency that he had tested positive for a banned steroid.

Singh has been asked to provide a second sample. If that is positive for anabolic steroids, he will have to miss the Olympic Games beginning on Aug. 5.

"I was on the way to getting an Olympic medal for my country," a sobbing Singh told reporters Tuesday. "I deny all the allegations of doping that I am accused of."

"I have been speaking out against the politics in sports in India and how badly athletes are treated and their poor training facilities, and this has riled many powerful people in the country.

"Their intention is to shut me up."

Navin Agarwal, the director-general of India's anti-doping agency NADA, denied that the samples could have been tampered, saying the samples are sealed in the presence of the athlete.

Yadav said he feared his food supplements were spiked, but he did not reveal who was responsible for it.

"I believe that there is foul play involved in this entire episode. Someone has sabotaged my food supplements and water intake," Yadav told NDTV station on Monday.

Yadav, who had won a bronze at the 2015 World Championship to clinch a place in the Olympic team, failed successive dope tests when his samples tested positive for anabolic steroids.

"This is a conspiracy against me. I am sure the truth will come out," Yadav said.

Yadav said he was supported in his claim by the Indian Olympic Association and the Wrestling Federation of India.

WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said Yadav has made a formal complaint against officials of the Sports Authority of India and some others who he accused of acting against him, but did not reveal their identities.

Yadav defeated Sushil Kumar, a two-time Olympic medalist, to get his place on India's team for Rio. Indian officials said if Yadav is disqualified, Kumar was unlikely to go instead because the cutoff for entries was July 18.

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