Chandigarh: Olympic medalist Vijender Singh is in the dock after his friend and national-level boxer Ram Singh confirmed they took drugs, believing them to be food supplements. But the boxing federation has backed Vijender and suspended Ram Singh from the national camp.
"Vijender took drugs two or three times thinking that they were food supplements. When we found out they were drugs, we were shocked and stopped taking them," said Ram, a constable in the Punjab Police.
Ram and Vijender are close friends and they are roommates at the boxing camp in Patiala. But even as his admission saw him being expelled from the camp, the boxing federation backed Olympic bronze medalist Vijender to the hilt. Indian Amateur Boxing Federation President Abhishek Matoria said it was Ram's word against Vijender and he would rather side with the Olympian. "We have full faith in Vijender," Matoria added.
Vijender, while remaining incommunicado, has continued to deny the allegations. His past record too bears up to scrutiny.
"Vijender never took any medicine without checking it first. He realises that he will undergo the dope test and he knows the risks. He has been training with us for the past 10 years and he has undergone tests regularly. When he was tested before Olympics, his tests came negative," India's national boxing coach GS Sandhu said.
But will Ram Singh's admission cost his friend dear? Can the statement be a basis for an enquiry against the poster boy of Indian boxing?
Meanwhile, Dr PSM Chandran, Sports Medicine Expert has said that traces of drugs may have washed away. "Ram Singh has confessed and his confession will be held up against him but Vijender has not confessed to anything, so we will have to wait and see," Chandran said.
While the Punjab Police maintain Vijender did consume heroin, there has been no test to prove this.