India's Olympic hero Vijender Singh, who finds himself at the centre of a drug scandal, made himself available on Wednesday for an out-of-competition dope test by NADA officials, apparently under pressure from the Sports Ministry.
After refusing to undergo tests ever since the scandal broke out about a month back, the boxer's urine and blood samples were taken this morning but it is learnt that the tests will not be specifically for heroin.
The news that Vijender, who had virtually gone underground, took the dope tests was disclosed by Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, who also advised the boxer to go for rehabilitation if found guilty.
"NADA has taken Vijender's samples in the morning. The blood and urine samples of Vijender and other boxers have been taken.
"I will wait for the results before deciding on any action. I don't want to speculate. The whole country is disappointed because of this issue, but of course, we need to look forward. But even if Vijender has made a mistake, he should of course be punished or penalised, but after that his rehabilitation should start," he said.
"We need to see that our sportspersons are rehabilitated so they could perform," the Minister added.
A top NADA official confirmed that Vijender's urine and blood samples were taken today but refused to elaborate further.
The NADA, which is an autonomous body, was willing to conduct a regular out-of-competition dope test on Vijender but had expressed its inability to test the Olympic bronze-medallist for heroin citing World Anti-Doping Agency's protocol.
"The WADA doesn't stop the Ministry from asking to conduct a test," Jitendra said.
The Ministry had stepped on Monday to clear the air on the controversy but NADA's stand meant that even a dope test would not give any conclusive evidence against Vijender, who has maintained a stoic silence after his initial denial.