The inclusion of Rajeev Tomar in the Indian freestyle wrestling squad may invite embarrassment for the country in the Asian wrestling championship, starting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.
Tomar and five other wrestlers were slapped with two-year suspensions for methylhexaneamine violation by a National Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel last year.
Earlier this year, all of them received relief from the Appeal Panel (NADAP) on the ground that their cases were delayed because of various reasons that could not be attributed to the athletes. All of them were allowed back into competition with immediate effect by the panel. However, as per rules, a reinstatement dope test was required to be done before their return to competition.
According to the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) anti-doping regulations, “As a condition to regaining eligibility at the end of a specified period of ineligibility, a wrestler must, during any period of provisional suspension or ineligibility, make him or herself available for out-of-competition testing by FILA, the applicable National federation, and any other anti-doping organisation having testing jurisdiction, and must, if requested, provide current and accurate information.”
The FILA regulation further says, “immediately prior to the end of the suspension period, a wrestler must undergo testing ordered by his/her National federation for the prohibited substances and methods of out-of-competition testing.”
“Once the period of a wrestler's suspension has expired and the wrestler has fulfilled the conditions of reinstatement, then the wrestler will become automatically re-eligible and no application by the wrestler or the wrestler's National federation will then be necessary.”
The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) rule is almost identical to the FILA regulations. Besides, as per its rules NADA is responsible for conducting out-of-competition test on an athlete during his/her period of ineligibility. NADA normally conducts a single reinstatement test on an athlete returning to competition after a period of ineligibility.
According to a source in the NADA, neither did the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) request for any reinstatement test of the six wrestlers nor did NADA conduct any test after the NADAP ended their sanction with immediate effect.
The WFI had arranged a “special trial” for Rajeev Tomar and Mausam Khatri (two of the six whose sanction got reduced) and Tomar qualified to book a ticket to the continental event in Astana. A NADA official told The Hindu that the WFI did not intimate the anti-doping body about the selection and departure of the team to the Kazakhstan capital for the Asian championship.
Asked about Tomar's reinstatement test prior to the team's departure for Astana, WFI secretary Raj Singh said, “He is cleared.”
If Tomar is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, then as per FILA regulations, his results will be removed from while ascertaining the team rankings. Besides, the WFI may also face sanctions for not complying with the FILA regulations.