M A I N   N E W S

Ministry in a fix after NADA refuses heroin test on Vijender
MS Unnikrishnan/TNS

Fellow pugilist disputes police claim
Boxer Dinesh Kumar, an Asian Games silver medallist, has claimed that the Punjab Police planted Vijender’s car outside the flat from where heroin was recovered. Dinesh said that he and one of his friends had accompanied Ram Singh at the police station but the policemen asked them to go and leave the car behind which was later found at Zirakpur. — PTI

New Delhi, April 2
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports today got into a wait-and-watch mode following the National Anti-Doping Agency’s (NADA) reservation in conducting out-of-competition tests on boxer Vijender Singh for his alleged consumption of heroin, which is considered a “recreation drug”.

A reliable source told The Tribune here this evening that heroin was among the banned drugs and can be tested during competitions.

“But since the NADA is an independent body, it has the liberty to conduct out-of-competition tests on an athlete at its own volition, keeping the secrecy aspect in mind, and not necessarily at the direction of the Sports Ministry. But if the ministry insists, WADA has to conduct tests on Vijender Singh,” the source added.

The Sports Ministry had directed NADA to hold out-of-competition tests on Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh for his alleged consumption of heroin as a recreation drug, though NADA director-general Mukul Chatterjee had reportedly said that the agency would not conduct out-of-competition tests on Vijender Singh.

“Most IAS officials who talk about out-of-competition tests citing WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) rules, have no understanding of the rules themselves. There should be no problem in conducting tests on Vijender Singh, though the ministry’s direction is not binding on NADA,” the source explained.

A news agency has quoted Chatterjee as saying that “we will not be testing Vijender for heroin. We will strictly follow the protocol of out-of-competition testing of an athlete irrespective of what the Sports Ministry has said”.

However, Sports Secretary PK Dev has said that the ministry has asked for a written response from NADA for its reluctance to conduct tests on Vijender and will make its stand clear after getting the dope testing agency’s response in writing.

The source said the present controversy was a result of the lack of understanding of the WADA and NADA rules and regulations among some key officials.

The source added that NADA certainly cannot take a strident stand in opposing the direction of the ministry as the agency is funded by the government. The NADA DG is an appointee of the Sports Ministry, said the source.

“But NADA has the liberty to conduct the tests on Vijender as and when it decides to do, not necessarily at the express direction of the ministry,” the source pointed out.

Since NADA has to follow WADA’s secrecy clause in out-of-competition tests, which was the main bone of contention when top cricketers refused to undergo out-of-competition tests, as they had to give their whereabout details to the agency. This, the cricketers felt, was an invasion on their privacy and a security threat too.

Interestingly, Vijender Singh has not commented on the controversy after refusing to give his blood and hair samples to the Punjab Police for testing.





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