Anti-doping agency collects Vijender's samples
Sports Ministry for probe to avoid bad influence on sportspersons
Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh’s samples were collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Wednesday, apparently for the purpose of testing him for his alleged drug use.
Vijender was alleged to have taken heroin 12 times, according to the Punjab Police.
The boxer’s samples were taken this morning in the capital, sources confirmed.
The 27-year-old boxer had been linked with recreational drugs after an NRI in Punjab was found with drugs worth Rs 130 crores at his home.
With Vijender, who won a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, keeping a low profile, the Sports Ministry on Monday “requested” NADA to conduct tests on him. The ministry found the reports linking the boxer with drugs “disturbing” and felt it could have a “debilitating influence” on other sportspersons.
Sports secretary P K Deb, who also looks after the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), said they had specifically asked NADA to conduct tests for heroin consumption.
It is to be seen how NDTL would test his samples, or a few other samples as well, for an ‘in-competition’ substance (heroin) as the samples it would receive would be from ‘out-of-competition’.
Even though Deb insisted that Vijender’s samples would be tested with the samples of other athletes, it remains to be seen how the identity of the athlete in this case could be kept under wraps. With NDTL having no facility for hair testing, it is logical to assume that NADA would have taken the blood and urine samples of Vijender. However, even if the boxer’s samples turn out to be ‘positive’, he could not be tried for committing an anti-doping rule violation as heroin does not come under the substances listed in the ‘out-of-competition’ batch in the WADA Prohibited List and the rules expressly rule out sanctions in such cases.
As per the ruling of International Standards, Laboratories, 2012: “Laboratories may undertake other forms of testing, within the limits of the Code of Ethics, which are not under the scope of WADA Accreditation (e.g. Equine testing, Forensic testing). Any such testing shall not be covered by WADA Accreditation.”
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has urged the boxer to go for a rehabilitation if found guilty.
“I will wait for the results before deciding on any action. I don’t want to speculate. But even if Vijender has made a mistake, he should of course be punished or penalised, but after that his rehabilitation should start,” he said.