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India drop heroin-tainted boxer Vijender from squad

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India’s Olympic bronze-medallist boxer Vijender Singh will not take part in two upcoming events following police accusations that he consumed heroin, a top official said on Saturday.

Vijender will not be selected in the Indian squad for tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba that serve as a prelude to the world championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October, the official said.

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Vijender, who won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was accused by Punjab Police of taking heroin 12 times as they investigated his links to an alleged dealer in a $24 million drug haul last month.

Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) president Abhishek Matoria said Vijender was not considered for two events after he failed to attend selection trials in the northern town of Punjab.

“He is an Olympic hero,” Matoria told reporters. “But at the moment his training has taken a blow because of the drug controversy.

“I have been in constant touch with Vijender and he has assured me that he is not involved in the scandal. He has told me that he will come out clean.

“As far as we are concerned, Vijender is very much a part of the Indian boxing fraternity.”

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The boxer, 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 drug dealer near Chandigarh.

The 27-year-old has strongly denied any link to the accused dealer and has slammed as “ridiculous” the allegations against him.

Vijender has not been seen in public for the past few weeks, but on Wednesday he provided blood and urine samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on the advice of the sports ministry.

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MLK was ‘gravely disappointed’ with white moderates — whom he believed were responsible for impeding civil rights

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—Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

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