Olympic-bound Indian wrestler Sumit Malik has been provisionally suspended after failing a dope test during the recent Qualifiers in Bulgaria, PTI reported on Friday.
The development, reported late on Thursday night by the Indian Express without naming the athlete, marks the second consecutive instance of a wrestler being involved in a doping case before the Olympics – the previous being ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics when Narsingh Yadav had failed one and was eventually slapped with a four-year ban in a saga that dominated the Indian contingent’s build-up to the Games.
Malik, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 125kg category at the Bulgaria event which was the last chance for wrestlers to earn quotas.
The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23 and India had secured a total of eight quotas, with four men and four women.
“The UWW informed the Wrestling Federation of India yesterday that Sumit has failed the dope test. Now he has to give his B sample on June 10,” a WFI official told PTI.
According to the report, Malik has been nursing a knee injury that he suffered during the national camp before the Olympic Qualifiers began at different venues. He had competed at the Asian Qualifiers in Almaty in April but did not succeed in earning the quota. He then competed at the Asian Championship at the same venue and returned with a medal-less performance.
However, at the World Olympic Qualifiers in Sofia held in May, Malik earned the quota by reaching the final, which he forfeited due to the same injury. To let his injured knee heal completely before the Olympics, Malik was also planning to skip the exposure trip to Poland that the WFI had arranged for its Tokyo-bound group.
If Malik’s B sample also returns positive, he can be banned from the sport. He has the right to challenge the suspension but it is clear that by the time the hearing takes place and a verdict comes out, he would miss competing at the Olympics, reported PTI.
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