Even as the media storm around his positive dope test plays out, wrestler Narsingh Yadav's fate rests on the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) hearing in New Delhi on Wednesday. Here are some questions on the process to be followed:
Who will represent him?
He is being represented by Krida Legal, a Delhi-based law firm specializing in sports law. Managing partner Vidushpat Singhania, who will lead the defence, has previously served as secretary of the Mudgal panel that was ordered by the Supreme Court to look into the IPL scandal of 2013 and also defended fast bowler Pradeep Sangwan, who was found guilty of using an anabolic steroid during the 2013 IPL season. Singhania has already appeared before the three-member NADA panel at a preliminary hearing on Saturday. Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan said the verdict should be known by Thursday.
What will the defence be?
Although Singhania wasn't available for comment, sports law experts believe he faces an uphill task to get Narsingh's suspension overturned. The onus on the defence team will be to prove that the substance found in Narsingh's body was taken inadvertently and that he might have been the victim of a conspiracy -- as Narsingh, his coaches as well as the WFI claims. In all probability, Singhania and his team will base their legal strategy around Article 10.4 and 10.5 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
As per Article 10.4, which deals with 'Elimination of the Period of Ineligibility where there is No Fault or Negligence': "If an athlete or other person establishes in an individual case that he or she bears no fault or negligence, then the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility shall be eliminated."
Article 10.5 deals with the 'Reduction of the Period of Ineligibility based on No Significant Fault or Negligence'. It states: "Specified substances where the anti-doping rule violation involves a specified substance, and the athlete or other person can establish no significant fault or negligence, then the period of ineligibility shall be, at a minimum, a reprimand and no period of ineligibility, and at a maximum, two years of ineligibility, depending on the athlete's or other person's degree of fault."
Is there a precedent?
Since both his 'A' and 'B' samples have tested positive, Narsingh's case is not that he hasn't consumed the prohibited substance at all. As the WADA code allows him to escape with a "reprimand or no period of ineligibility" -- essentially a rap on the knuckles for not being careful enough -- his legal defence will focus on establishing that the banned drug was consumed unknowingly. They will also employ similar precedents from other sports to buttress their argument. Among the more prominent one involved one of the world's leading badminton players, Ratchanok Intanon, who was recently cleared to compete in Rio after having testing positive for a banned substance in May.
According to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), the drug found in Intanon's body was administered directly into a muscle tendon for medical reasons, a procedure permitted under the federation's rules. "The panel concluded that because the route of administration of the substance in the medical treatment process was intratendinous - an authorised administration route - no violation of the regulations was committed," the BWF had said in a statement.
And if the judgement goes against him?
If the outcome of this process doesn't go in Narsingh's favour, he does have some legal options to appeal. The course of action on that front, if needed, will be decided based on the nature of the verdict. But Narsingh and his camp will be hoping that with the Olympics imminent, he is able to convince the panel of his innocence.