Under-pressure NADA collects Vijender’s samples

But by not opting for hair analysis,agency’s procedure less-than-thorough

Written by Mihir Vasavda | Mumbai | Published: April 4, 2013 1:59:42 am

Discarding its initial reluctance,the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has agreed to test tainted boxer Vijender Singh for heroin use Wednesday. While NADA refused to acknowledge the move,Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has confirmed that the boxer,who surfaced after a month in hiding,did give his blood and urine samples to the anti-doping officials. Curiously,however,his hair sample — a key step when it comes to detecting most recreational drug usage — was not taken.

NADA had earlier refused to conduct a heroin-specific test on Vijender,saying they would violate World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) “out-of-competition” test norm if they adhered to the ministry’s request.

They were to change their stance with the ministry insisting that there was no breach of protocol. “We studied the WADA protocol today,” a ministry official explained. “We have concluded that the NADA can conduct a heroin test on an athlete out-of-competition. What they cannot do is take action against him if found guilty. We haven’t asked NADA to punish Vijender if he tests positive. They have taken the sample,which is with the National Dope Test Laboratory (NDTL). If the test returns positive,then the ministry will step in and take necessary action. NADA isn’t violating any law,” he added.

The process is likely to take a minimum of two weeks. However,according to experts,the results are likely to return negative.

Vijender allegedly took the drugs 12 times between December 2012 and February 2013. Heroin traces can be found in urine samples for up to seven days. In blood tests,which is considered to be the least reliable in this case,the drug can be detected for barely up to 12 hours. In contrast,it can be found in hair for up to 90 days.

Protocol breach?

BY claiming publicly that the NADA has collected Vijender’s sample and sent it to NDTL,the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh might have not gone by the WADA book. According to the rules set by the world anti-doping body,the identity of an athlete should not be revealed when his sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. WADA insists on maintaining secrecy to ensure there is no bias against a particular athlete while the test is conducted.

Meanwhile,the Punjab police have dubbed the tests as “sham”.

“NADA is going to test Vijender for presence of performance enhancing drugs in his blood and urine samples. The results of this test are of no use to our investigations,” said SSP Fatehgarh Sahib HS Mann.

Leave not approved

Meanwhile,Vijender’s request to be exempted from the on-going boxing camp has not yet been approved by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Sources at National Institute of Sports (NIS) disclosed that Vijender has been marked absent from the national camp and his leave has been forwarded to SAI’s Delhi office as the most recent extension ended last Thursday.

Vijender has been on leave since the first week of March and has not attended the camp for a day.

The boxer has so far extended his leave three times through NIS authorities,but the authorities have refused to entertain his fourth application.

Vijender had requested for a leave of two more weeks from NIS authorities,but they have forwarded the application to SAI Delhi,sources said.

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