Drugs: Boxing star Vijender Singh dropped from tournaments

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Vijender Singh
Mohali, April 6: In a major setback for Indian boxing star Vijender Singh, Boxing Federation on Saturday, April 6 announced that he has been dropped from crucial international tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba.

The harsh decision on Vijender has been taken as he failed to turn up to the mandatory trial camp which recently has been held in Patiala in Punjab.

The boxing star, who has been facing legal trouble in connection with drug haul case in Mohali, applied for extension of his leave which has not been approved by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Nivaran Mukherjee, Vice President of Boxing Federation, earlier had informed that the trials are necessary for further selection and that Vijender would not qualify if he does not join the trials.

Speaking on Vijender and the controversial drug haul case, Punjab Police ADG Intelligence HS Dhillon was quoted as saying, "Vijender Singh has not been let off. We are seeking legal advise with new amendments on moving ahead in seeking custody of Vijender Singh."

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) earlier on Wednesday collected urine and blood samples from Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist.

The 27-year-old pugilist came under the scanner when the Punjab Police saw a SUV belonging to his wife Archana during a raid at a NRI drug peddler's flat in Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib district on March 7. The vehicle was parked outside the apartment of Anoop Singh Kahlon who has described Vijender as a regular client.

Meanwhile, Ram Singh, Vijender's sparring partner, has been arrested. In his previous statement to police, Ram Singh had said that he took the boxing icon to the Chandigarh airport in the same SUV on March 6. Later he admitted that both of them had experimented with drugs. Ram Singh claimed that they had mistaken the banned substances for health boosters.

"We were told that we were consuming food supplements meant to increase strength and stamina," Ram Singh told newspersons. He was expelled from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala on March 11.

The Punjab Police dismissed the disgraced head constable on March 28. According to investigators, Vijender has taken heroin at least 12 times till date. However, he denied the charge. Even if it is established that the boxer often consumed heroin, the chances of him being banned for drug use are very less.

"Heroin is a banned drug, but an athlete can be punished only if he tests positive in 'in-competition' testing. Vijender is not training for any competition these days, so he cannot be penalised," NADA director-general Mukul Chatterjee explained.

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