Vijender Singh: Olympic boxer takes dope test

  • 4 April 2013
  • From the section India
Vijender Singh
Image caption Vijender Singh returned with a bronze from the 2008 Beijing Olympics

India's Olympics medal-winning boxer Vijender Singh has taken a dope test after charges that he took heroin procured from alleged smugglers.

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has taken blood and urine samples from the boxer, who has denied the charges.

On Wednesday night, Punjab police arrested the boxer's sparring partner, Ram Singh.

Vijender Singh was questioned last month after police seized 26kg (57lbs) of heroin from a flat in Mohali.

Fifteen people, including a Canada-based Indian, were held in connection with the drug haul, believed to have a street value of 1.3bn rupees ($24m; £16m).

One of the arrested men allegedly said he had sold drugs to the boxer.

The boxer had refused to take a dope test ever since the scandal broke, but finally agreed to give samples on Wednesday.

"The blood and urine samples of Vijender and other boxers have been taken," Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said late on Wednesday.

"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," the minister said.

Meanwhile, Punjab police on Wednesday night said the boxer's sparring partner, Ram Singh, had been arrested "for custodial interrogation".

They said they had recovered 5kg of a party drug from the home of one of his relatives at the weekend.

A few days ago, the police said in a statement that investigations had revealed that Vijender Singh "had consumed heroin about 12 times and Ram Singh about five times" between last December and February.

The police also said that the boxer had spoken on the phone a number of times to a man described as the main suspect, said to be based in Canada.

Vijender Singh became a national hero when he won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He also represented India at the London Games, although he did not win a medal.

The boxer has endorsed big brand names and makes regular appearances on reality television shows and at Bollywood parties.

He has also been awarded India's highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award,

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