Three Indian wrestlers escaped suspensions by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) while the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) was spared a hefty fine after being initially penalised by the international body for not informing it of ‘positive' dope cases prior to the Commonwealth Games.
In an unprecedented move, the FILA had imposed a fine of 50,000 Swiss Francs (Rs 23.31 lakh) on the WFI and a ban of two years on three wrestlers for failing dope tests, but relented at the intervention of the WFI President, G.S. Mander, in time to facilitate the participation of the wrestlers concerned at the Asian Games.
Altogether six wrestlers — Sumit (74kg), Masuam Khatri (96kg) and Rajiv Tomar (120kg) in freestyle, Rahul Mann (60kg) and Joginder (120kg) in Greco Roman and woman wrestler Gursharanpreet Kaur (72kg) — had tested positive for methylhexaneamine, in a test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) at the selection trials in Sonepat last August.
These wrestlers were provisionally suspended by the NADA. But their suspensions were revoked by the hearing panel as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) moved methylhexaneamine from the ‘non-specified' to ‘specified substances' list for 2011.
Though all of them were excluded from the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games, Khatri, Tomar and Gursharanpreet were selected for the Guangzhou Asian Games.
Taking note of the dope offences, the FILA, in the first week of November, had sent a letter to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) asking why it did not inform the apex body about the incident and imposed a fine.
Besides, it banned three wrestlers (Khatri, Tomar and Mann) who had international licenses for the year 2010.
However, hectic efforts by Mander saved the National federation from further embarrassment as well as the arduous task of paying the fine.
The WFI clarified its position and convinced the FILA by explaining that the wrestlers had been undergoing the procedures, including a hearing process, laid down by the NADA in accordance with the WADA regulations.
Mander confirmed on Tuesday that the FILA had made such a move, but things were sorted out in time.
In a related incident in Guangzhou, the Asian Games Organising Committee had raised objections to the participation of Khatri and Tomar. However, they were allowed to take part in the Games following an undertaking given by a top WFI official.
Khatri went onto to win a bronze in the 96kg category. The retention of his medal will depend on the final decision handed out by the disciplinary panel. The next hearing of these wrestlers is scheduled on January 5.