Top boxer Vijender Singh, who finds himself at the centre of a drug scandal, will not be considered for selection for two upcoming international events for missing the trials.
The beleaguered boxer, who has been accused by the Punjab Police of consuming heroin, missed the two-day boxing trials in Patiala and will not be selected in the squad for the events in Cyprus and Cuba which serve as build-up events for the World Championships at Almaty, Kazakhstan in October.
The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) said that it may not be possible for Vijender to take part in events without attending trials as it was important to assess his fitness.
The IABF is currently banned by the international boxing body and Indian boxers can take part in international events under the AIBA flag. Indian officials are also not allowed to accompany the team.
The IABF hoped that Vijender would come out clean from the drug controversy surrounding him and resume his boxing career.
“Vijender is not out of the team, but he will not participate in the tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba. For the time being we will not consider him,” IABF President Abhishek Matoria said.
“He is an Olympic hero. It is upto him to decide which events he wants to take part. At the moment, his training has taken a blow because of the drug controversy,” he said.
“I have been in constant touch with Vijender and he has assured me that he is not involved in the drug scandal. He has told me that he will come out clean from the enquiry,” added Matoria.
Matoria said Vijender is an important part of Indian boxing and the federation will wait for him to return to the ring.
“At the moment, Vijender 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 Indian boxing fraternity,” he said.
The name of Vijender, who won the middle-weight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, cropped up in the scandal when Fatehgarh Sahib Police exposed a drug haul case and took his sparring partner Ram Singh, later on dismissed by the Punjab Police, in custody for interrogation.
Ram allegedly told the investigators that he and Vijender consumed heroin supplied by NRI narcotics dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon many times. Vijender has been denying the allegations of police who had claimed that they had evidence to prove that the star boxer had taken heroin on 12 occasions.
On the Sports Ministry’s directive, the NADA had also taken urine and blood samples from the boxer but it is unlikely that the tests will be specifically for heroin.