Boxer Vijender Singh gives in; provides samples for dope tests
Boxing icon Vijender Singh, accused of using heroin, submitted blood and urine samples on Wednesday to the National Anti-Doping Agency
India's Olympic hero Vijender Singh, who finds himself at the centre of a drug scandal, on Wednesday made himself available for an out-of-competition dope test by national anti-doping agency (NADA) officials, apparently under pressure from the Sports Ministry.
After refusing to undergo tests ever since the scandal broke out about a month back, the boxer's urine and blood samples were taken on Wednesday morning but it is learnt that the tests will not be specifically for heroin.
The news that Vijender, who had virtually gone underground, took the dope tests on Wednesday was disclosed by Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, who also advised the boxer to go for a rehabilitation if found guilty.
"NADA has taken Vijender's samples in the morning. The blood and urine samples of Vijender and other boxers have been taken.
"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.
"We need to see that our sportspersons are rehabilitated so they could perform," the Minister added.
A top NADA official confirmed that Vijender's urine and blood samples were taken today but refused to elaborate further.
The NADA, which is an autonomous body, was willing to conduct a regular out-of-competition dope test on Vijender but had expressed its inability to test the Olympic bronze-medallist for heroin citing World Anti-Doping Agency's protocol.
"The WADA doesn't stop the Ministry from asking to conduct a test," Jitendra said.
The Ministry had stepped on Monday to clear the air on the controversy but NADA's stand meant that even a dope test would not give any conclusive evidence against Vijender, who has maintained a stoic silence after his initial denial.