Boxing: Indian sports ministry says Olympic medallist tests negative after heroin charge

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Olympic boxing bronze medallist Vijender Singh was on Tuesday cleared by the Indian sports ministry of using banned substances following a police charge that he consumed heroin.

But Vijender, who won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, remains out of the Indian squad for upcoming tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba pending the completion of police investigations against him.

The 27-year-old gave blood and urine samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) earlier this month, with the test results on him and four other boxers returning negative.

"A full-menu test was conducted which included testing for psychotropic substances. Tests were only carried out on blood and urine samples," the sports ministry said in a statement.

"The ministry is glad to announce that on the basis of these tests, none of the boxers were found to have used any banned substances in the recent past."

Vijender had refused to be tested by Punjab Police, who while investigating his links to an alleged dealer in a US$24 million (S$29.75 million) drug haul last month, said the boxer had taken heroin 12 times.

Police seized 26kg of heroin in March in Punjab. The alleged dealer was arrested along with five others.

Vijender, himself a police officer in the neighbouring state of Haryana, was linked to the haul after a car belonging to his wife was found outside the residence of the alleged dealer near Chandigarh.

The boxer, who became a household name in India after winning the Olympic medal, had strongly denied any link to the drug dealer and slammed as "ridiculous" the allegations against him.

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