Jay Kowli
Jay Kowli

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on Thursday directed its High Performance Directors and coaches to step up the vigil to ensure that dope cheats are weeded out from national camps and called for quarterly awareness sessions on the anti-doping code.

Former Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan and Tokyo Olympics probable woman boxer Neeraj Phogat were caught in the dope net, a shocker for the sport in which the elite group has mostly a clean record.

"It's very shocking and equally unacceptable to hear that two boxers have tested positive in doping recently," BFI Secretary General Jay Kowli said in a letter addressed to the High Performance Directors -- Santiago Nieva (men) and Rafaelle Bergamasco (women).

The BFI said it would offer no support to those who are caught unless "inadvertent intake" is proved beyond doubt.

"If it is an informed decision by a boxer, then it is a clear case of cheating and we should not entertain, help and assist such boxers anywhere.

"However, if the boxer is innocent and it is an unfortunate development due to a genuine mistake, then we must stand by to assist him or her on all fronts," he said.

Laying down the ground rules to ensure that no fresh cases come up, Kowli asked for greater awareness among campers at all age levels and greater vigil by coaches, doctors and other support staff.

"...apart from observing strict vigilance/monitoring, we need to educate all our boxers, coaches, support staff on all aspects. Not only once in a year, but repeatedly, preferably quarterly," he said.

"...it is the responsibility of head coaches of all the teams to conduct a dedicated session to educate and re-educate all our boxers and everybody associated with and in the camp on all the aspects of doping," he added.

Kowli said the exercise "must be video-recorded to ensure full adherence and attendance".

"Whether the boxer is young and inexperienced or he/she is senior and experienced, each and every person has to attend these sessions and a proper record has to be kept," he said.

While Neeraj has accepted the 'A' sample findings, which came out positive for anabolic steroids, Sangwan has not yet stated whether he would go for a 'B' sample test after a diuretic was traced in his sample.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal