The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has named three wrestlers, who had tested positive for a banned substance (methylhexaneamine), in the 18-member squad for the Asian Games.
These wrestlers are Mausam Khatri (freestyle 96kg), Rajiv Tomar (freestyle 120kg) and woman grappler Gursharanpreet Kaur (72kg).
In two of the three categories, freestyle 96kg and women's 72kg, India had failed to land a medal in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games. Joginder Kumar had managed a silver medal in 120kg freestyle.
The WFI had dropped Khatri, Tomar and Gursharanpreet from the CWG squad following their positive tests and announced their replacements.
Even after their provisional suspensions were revoked by an Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel, the WFI had not taken these wrestlers back into the Games team.
Justifying the trio's selection for the Asian Games, WFI President G.S. Mander said on Tuesday, “Their suspensions had been revoked, so there is no bar for their selection.”
Mander said the federation had limited options. “In 120kg and 96kg, both Joginder and Anil Mann (who participated in the CWG) are injured. In women's 72kg, we could not win a medal. So we had no choice,” the WFI president said.
Asked why the three wrestlers were not re-inducted into the CWG side even though their suspensions had been removed before the Games, Mander said, “It was because the basis of their selection was wrong (since the performances were dope-assisted).”
The NADA panel is scheduled to meet again on Thursday to take up the cases of wrestlers, athletes and others and the WFI expects that they will get away with a warning. “If they are found guilty, then we have to remove them from the team,” said Mander.
An impression had been created during the past few weeks by sportspersons and the NADA that the dozen athletes who tested positive for methylhexaneamine would get away with a mere warning.
In fact some of the athletes charged for doping-rule violation had been claiming that they had been given a “clean chit” by the hearing body.
It is quite possible that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may appeal against any decision by the hearing panel if it finds that a proper sanction had not been imposed.
In recent cases dealing with methylhexaneamine, in international sport, a minimum of six months suspension had been imposed.
The WFI has rested world champion Sushil Kumar, who has been nursing minor injuries. Pradeep Kumar has been named in Sushil's weight category.
“He (Sushil) has been fighting in one major event after another. We want him to win the Olympics gold, so he has been given rest,” said Mander.
The squad: Freestyle: 55kg: Vinod Kumar; 60kg: Yogeshwar Dutt; 66kg: Pradeep Kumar; 74kg: Narsingh Yadav; 84kg: Ram Vir; 96kg: Mausam Khatri; 120kg: Rajiv Tomar.
Greco-Roman: 55kg: Rajender Kumar; 60kg: Ravinder Singh; 66kg: Sunil Kumar; 74kg: Sanjay; 84kg: Manoj Kumar; 96kg: Anil Kumar; 120kg: Dharmender Dalal.
Women: 48kg: Nirmala Devi; 55kg: Geeta; 63kg: Suman Kundu; 72kg: Gursharanpreet Kaur.