Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Indian boxer Singh tests negative after heroin charge

AFP, NEW DELHI

Vijender Singh of India, left, competes with Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan during the men’s 75kg boxing final competition at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Nov. 26, 2010.

Photo: AFP

Olympic bronze-medalist boxer Vijender Singh was on Tuesday cleared by the Indian sports ministry of using banned substances following a police charge that he consumed heroin.

However, Vijender, who won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, remains out of the Indian squad for upcoming tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba pending the completion of police investigations against him.

The 27-year-old gave blood and urine samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) earlier this month, with the test results on him and four other boxers returning negative.

“A full menu test was conducted, which included testing for psychotropic substances. Tests were only carried out on blood and urine samples,” the sports ministry said in a statement. “The ministry is glad to announce that on the basis of these tests, none of the boxers were found to have used any banned substances in the recent past.”

Vijender had refused to be tested by Punjab police, who while investigating his links to an alleged dealer in a US$24 million drug haul last month said the boxer had taken heroin 12 times.

Police seized 26kg of heroin with a street value of 1.3 billion rupees (US$24 million) last month in Punjab. The alleged dealer was arrested along with five others.

Vijender, himself a police officer in the neighboring state of Haryana, was linked to the haul after a car belonging to his wife was found outside the residence of the alleged dealer near Chandigarh.

Vijender, who became a household name in India after winning the Olympic medal, had strongly denied any link to the drug dealer and slammed as “ridiculous” the allegations against him.

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