Under-pressure NADA collects Vijender’s samples

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?

... contd.

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