New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh, who has been accused of consuming drugs, was Saturday dropped from the India squad which is to tour Cyprus and Cuba.
The 27-year-old had skipped the selection trials at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala Friday and Saturday. Earlier, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) vice-president Nivaran Mukherjee had said that if Vijender missed the trials, he would not be considered for the two events.
“Vijender is not out of the team but he will not participate in the tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba,” IABF president Abhishek Matoria told a news channel Saturday.
The Olympian will henceforth miss two tournaments in Cuba, the Cardova Cardin and the Roberto Balado Cup, in June. Amidst a drug scandal at the moment, the Bhiwani-born pugilist, however, is expected to take part in the World Championship in Kazakhstan from Oct 4 to 13.
“I have been in constant touch with Vijender and he has assured me that he does not have any involvement with drugs. He has told me that he will come out clean from the enquiry. At the moment, he is under severe pressure. He is hopeful of being given a clean chit in the next 10 days or so. And then he will get back to boxing. Vijender is very much an important part of the Indian boxing fraternity,” said Matoria.
Earlier this week, Vijender had submitted blood and urine samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for the alleged use of the recreational drug heroin. Last Sunday, the Punjab Police said Vijender took heroin 12 times.
However, the samples may not ascertain if the boxer took the drug as it does not last for more than 12 hours in blood and three days in urine. Only a hair sample can ascertain whether he took it or not. Drug traces can be found in hair for up to three months. Interestingly, NADA say they do not have the facility to test hair samples.
Vijender’s name cropped up in the scandal when Punjab Police exposed a drug haul case and took his sparring partner Ram Singh in police custody for interrogation. Ram allegedly said that he and Vijender consumed heroin many times.