Sports Ministry asks NADA to carry out test on Vijender
Almost a month after Vijender's name surfaced in the drug scandal, the Sports Ministry stepped in to clear the air on the issue by subjecting the ace pugilist to dope tests.
In a communication sent to Director General of NADA, Mukul Chatterjee, the Sports Ministry has said that the reports in the media regarding alleged consumption of heroin by Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vijender were disturbing and hence directed NADA to conduct a test on the boxer although its out-of-competition.
"Such reports in respect of a sporting icon are disturbing and may have a debilitating influence on other sportspersons in the country.
"It has, therefore, been considered necessary that NADA gets a test carried out on Vijender Singh for his reported use of heroin even out-of-competition," a press release isued by the the Ministry said.
"The communication has asked NADA to carry out the test immediately under intimation to the Ministry," the release added.
Vijender has denied having consumed heroin and could not immeditialy be reached for his comments on the latest development.
Punjab Police yesterday claimed that Vijender had consumed heroin 12 times after procuring it from alleged drug smugglers including NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon.
"As per investigation conducted so far, Vijender Singh consumed the drug about 12 times and Ram Singh (his sparring partner) about five times," a Punjab Police statement had said.
Kahlon alias Ruby, the alleged Canada-based drug dealer, was arrested by police on March 3 and 26kg of heroin worth Rs 130 crore seized from his residence in Zirakpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh.
The Punjab police spokesperson said, "it has been established that boxers Ram Singh and Vijender Singh took heroin from Kahlon and his aide Rocky for personal consumption between December 2012 and February 2013."
Meanwhile, an official from NADA said the agency would conduct test on Vijender as if out of competition and will not treat it as a special case.
"We will conduct a routine test for the star boxer (Vijender) as we have done for any other out of competition athlete. No, we will not be testing for heroin. We will strictly go by the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and the NADA code," NADA official Jagdish Singh told a news channel.
He said NADA was an independent body and would follow its own protocols while conducting the test.
"It is not a diktat from the ministry. We are quite independent and will strictly follow the protocol for the out of competition testing for an athlete irrespective of what the ministry said," Singh said.
He, however, said they would not conduct a hair sample test. "We can do a blood or a urine test."