Last Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the two-year ban imposed on Nabi, while ruling that the Estonian wrestler was an unfortunate victim and could not be called a cheater or a user of banned substances. At a press conference on Thursday, Nabi announced that he planned to appeal the decision to the Swiss Federal Court.
“It was an interesting nuance that was added to the verdict and which allows for different interpretations,” Port told ETV current affairs program “Ringvaade,” when discussing the CAS decision to point out that Nabi was a unfortunate victim in the case.
Following his ban by the Disciplinary Board of the Estonian Center for Integrity in Sport (ESTCIS), Nabi and his lawyers presented several possible scenarios to CAS to explain how the banned substance Letrozole was able to enter the wrestler’s body. One explanation was that Nabi may have ingested the substance by unknowingly eating contaminated turkey meat or liver. Another postulated that letrozole could have entered his body from the sweat or saliva of a training partner who had taken the substance himself. The wrestler’s contact with gym equipment or surfaces containing traces of letrozole has also been put forward as a possible explanation.
“Basically all the arguments they made were based on the premise that (the scenarios) are possible, but a lot of things in the world are possible,” Port said.
“Now, as to whether the evidence supports (these) possibilities, the court has found it to be insufficient. The court is not so much looking for the truth as it compares the evidence presented and decides which is more plausible,” he said. declared Port.
“In this case, it is said that if you are an athlete, you are solely responsible, which implies, among other things, that you may be placed in an unfair situation, however, you always have the right to demonstrate that you do not weren’t at fault,” Port explained.
“It’s one thing to have the intention – to want to do harm – but it’s another to not have paid enough attention to your food or anything else,” he said.
“To be honest, we don’t really know how this substance entered Heiki Nabi’s body. In its reasoning (for the verdict), the court added a sentence to say, that it did not know if (the substance being in Nabi’s body) was under his control or not,” Port said.
Port considers it highly unlikely that the decision will be overturned on appeal. “The Swiss Supreme Court does not address the nature or logic of the CAS judicial process, nor what Heiki Nabi argues about wanting to remove the requirement for an athlete to prove that he was not at fault “Port explained.
“It’s just about whether there were any mistakes made during the trial. If there were any mistakes in the process, then that process will be reversed. When you enter the private sports arena, you make a contract , which says you will compete under those specific rules. So far, that has been accepted as the norm around the world,” Port said.
Port concluded by saying he hopes Nabi will continue to compete in the future once his ban is served. “I hope Heiki Nabi picks himself up. I think he’s a very good and determined athlete. He’s had a lot of success so far, which is a testament to who he is. Regardless of whether their history whether bad or not, I respect people who can get out of tough situations,” he said.
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