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Narsingh Yadav's food was spiked, Sonepat hostel insiders reveal

India Today logo India Today 26-07-2016

As the nation's hope at the Rio Olympics stands beaten down by dope allegations against wrestler Narsingh Yadav, an India Today investigation has found out the 74 kg freestyler's Brazilian bout might have been upset by intrigue at home.

Yadav has been provisionally suspended from the sport after he tested positive for steroid methandienone.

But the results from Yadav's samples have triggered suspicion and disbelief in several quarters, with WFI chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh and coach Jagmal Singh throwing their weight behind the beleaguered wrestler.

An India Today investigative reporter visited the Sports of Authority of India (SAI) dormitory in Sonipat, where Yadav trained and stayed, for a probe into a possible underhand plot to kick the wrestler out of Rio.

JUNIORS AND COOK TESTIFY

At the SAI hostel mess in Sonepat, the sportsman's juniors and cook testified to witnessing his food being spiked by an unknown intruder in June.

Yadav's cook Vijay and junior Chandan Yadav told the undercover reporter that they did notice something unusual in the mess kitchen on the fifth of the last month.

They alleged his food, while on the stove, was contaminated with unknown white substance by a young man.

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"Lentils were being fried with tomato and onion slices. But there was some powdery substance," claimed Vijay.

"It resembled baking soda," intervened another man standing beside Vijay.

'WHITE POWDERY SUBSTANCE'

Neither the cook nor junior wrestler Chandan Yadav, who was frying onions and tomatoes to spice up his mentor Narsingh Yadav's food at the time, had poured any white substance in the frying pan, they claimed.

"It was powdery, like baking soda. Pintu (Chandan Yadav) then joked if I had put Surf in it. I said why I'd do that. Maybe someone else has put something. He then examined it and we discarded the frying stuff, suspecting someone has spiked it," Vijay said.

Both alleged an unknown person had entered the kitchen when the alleged contamination occurred.

"I was frying the food and he (Vijay) was making the rotis. There was another boy (who had come in). He wanted the knife I was using. I refused. He would have done it (the adulteration) when I moved away (from the stove) to get some water," said Chandan Yadav, nicknamed Pintu.

HELPER ECHOES CLAIMS

His helper Pankaj Kumar echoed their claims.

"When Pintu was frying onions, I noticed froth in the pan. Then he said someone could have contaminated it. That (unknown) boy was still there. After that I got that food discarded," Kumar said.

'REGULATIONS WERE LOOSE'

After speaking to the three purported eyewitness, India Today's investigative reporter met the contractor of the SAI mess in Sonipat. Contractor Satya Yadav admitted regulations were loose at the facility.

Outsiders, he accepted, could enter the dormitory freely.

He was also aware of allegations that an unidentified man had spiked Narsingh Yadav's food on the fifth of June. 

"Yes, they are saying there was another boy there at the time. I told them he should have been identified and caught immediately. But they are saying they can identify him whenever he's around. He even went into Narsing (Yadav)'s room," said the hostel-mess contractor.

'WILL BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY THE MAN'

"Narsingh's junior (Chandan Yadav) says he'll be able to identify him. He (Chandan Yadav) says he (the unknown man) is from Chhatrasal stadium. Something like that," said the hostel-mess contractor.

The sportsman, on his part, has sought a CBI inquiry, saying he never took steroids.

"The matter should be probed thoroughly and the culprit must get the strictest of punishments," Narsingh Yadav said."There has to be a criminal investigation into the case. I want CBI to probe the matter. It's a clear case of a conspiracy," he added.

Authorities, however, have yet to order an inquiry to determine whether or not there was an attempt to sabotage Narsingh Yadav's chances in Brazil.

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