New Delhi:In a double jolt for Indian boxing, middle-weight pugilist Manjit Singh has been suspended for two years after failing a dope test while fellow glovesman Baljeet Singh's 'A' sample has also tested positive.
Manjit, a bronze medallist in the 2007 Commonwealth Championship in Liverpool, tested positive for a banned steroid at a National camp in April last year and the Indian Boxing Federation has asked him to return the silver medal he won at the National Championship.
"We have written to him asking him to return the medal," an IBF official said, confirming his B sample has also tested positive.
"Baljeet (super heavyweight division) has also tested positive. His sample was taken at the Nationals in September and the first results that came out in December are positive. We have already asked for a 'B' sample test," he said.
Asked why Manjit was allowed to compete in the Nationals despite a positive dope test, the IBF official argued that the results came to light only after the event.
"We got the results after the Nationals and subsequently he was suspended," the official said.
Manjit, meanwhile, has filed an appeal against the suspension.
"I filed an appeal against the suspension yesterday. I have argued that I had a hand injury for which I took some medicines prescribed by a doctor during the camp," Manjit said.
"The samples taken after that tested positive in the National Dope Testing Laboratory. I had no competition or trial to participate in at the time of the tests, so there is no question of me taking performance enhancers," he added.
The middle-weight pugilist had joined the camp as a sparring partner for Olympic bronze medallist Vijender and qualifier Dinesh Kumar.
A Junior Asian Championship bronze medallist, Manjit is now waiting to know when his appeal would be heard by the IBF disciplinary committee.
"I have been told that the date of hearing would be conveyed to me soon through a letter," he said.
IBF Secretary General Col PK Muralidharan Raja said while the IBF was committed to cracking down on dope offenders, they had faith in Manjit.
"We are not supporting dope offenders but in Manjit's case, it is quite absurd that a boxer who has no event to participate in and no trial to attend would be on dope. He has filed his appeal, let's see what happens next. If he is found guilty then we are all for strict action against him," he said.
Baljeet also competed in the Nationals and stunned Asian Games bronze medallist Varghese Johnson in the pre-quarterfinals.
Both the boxers are from Haryana and have been training at the Sports Authority of India's centre in Bhiwani.