After close to three years of deliberations and head scratching with boxing authorities ducking and diving questions on how to handle the secretly kept doping scandal involving Namibia’s undefeated world boxing champion Harry Simon – the Jack is finally out of the box.
New Era Weekend Sport has it on good authority that the Namibian Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NBPWC) has finally bowed to sustained pressure from the Namibian Olympic Committee (NNOC) to press charges against Simon.
The Namibian boxing legend is at the centre of a doping investigation that threatens to bring his flourishing boxing career to a premature end.
Simon stands accused of having tested positive for a banned substance during his fight for the vacant IBF International Light Heavyweight World title bout against little known Geard Ajetovic, in September 2013, when the Terminator came out unstuck against the out-of-sorts Serbian opponent, who offered very little resistance, if any, for a world title bout.
During a recent emergency meeting, NBPWC resolved to suspend Simon with immediate effect from all boxing activities under its banner until such time he appeared before a disciplinary hearing to answer charges of alleged doping.
However, after lengthy consultations with higher boxing authorities, it was unanimously resolved to lift Simon’s suspension in the absence of concrete evidence supporting the alleged doping violation.
NNOC is the local Anti-Doping organization, presiding over the testing of athletes using unauthorized performance enhancing drugs. The presiding body wrote to the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPWCB) in May informing the country’s boxing controlling body about the outcome of the results.
They did not say it out loud, but whispers in the boxing corridors have it that the NPBWCB hierarchy tried every trick in the book of tricks to pour cold water on the debacle by questioning the timeframe with regard to the drawn-out outcome of the urine sample.
However, NNOC remains adamant that it has a case, despite the analytical test report on urine A sample analysis taking a bit long, with the process only completed six months after the incident, following the submission of both A and B samples to the designated laboratory.
Despite the hullabaloo, the Olympic movement remains steadfast, saying the sample collection process was in line with the article 5.26 of the World Anti-Doping Agency code of 2015.
Fahmy Galant, the general manager of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport jumped into the ring to clear up the confusion. “If there was an AAF with regard to an athlete, the presiding body should proceed with the matter because the statute of limitation is ten (10) years after the event in question, as per article 17 of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) code.”
Fahmy states that exceptions would only be made in cases where it becomes impossible to obtain the confirmatory B sample analyses, but insists there is enough evidence to continue with the investigation and subsequent charges for the alleged anti-doping rule violations (ADRV).
On a positive note, code 10.8 allows for some leeway when considering disqualifying all other competitive results subsequent to the sample collection, to ensure fairness in cases of substantive delays.
Simon’s promoter, Anita Tjombe, has admitted guilt on the allegation, but was quick to warn people against pointing fingers in the direction of her boxer, saying she was the one who administered the banned substance.
Pressed as to why Simon was allowed to carry on fighting, while the case was sub-judice, Namibian boxing supremo Kelly Nngixulifwa said there was a mixed up in the process, coupled with a number of flaws in the initial report.
Simon and his legal representatives were scheduled to appear before a disciplinary hearing yesterday. Early indications are that he would be exonerated from any wrongdoing.