Northern Ireland boxer Paddy Barnes has branded Commonwealth Games drug test timings a “disgrace” and insisted the procedure could have put his participation in Glasgow in doubt.
Barnes and team-mate Michael Conlan were singled out for random testing after training on Monday and the 27-year-old double Olympic bronze medallist was kept up until two o’clock in the morning by doping officials.
Barnes said: “They pulled me at eight o’clock when I was still in my sweat gear and dehydrated and they had me sitting for about an hour.
“I could have got cold or sick but they didn’t care - they just cared about getting urine.
“In the end they decided they would let me go and get changed but they kept me until two o’clock when they gave me two towels and told me I had to go to sleep on a physio bed.
“Eventually they voided the test and I could go back to my room but at half past seven this morning it happened again after four and a half hours’ sleep.
“It’s a disgrace. The timing of the test was terrible - to do it two days before the competition, I’ve never heard such a thing in my life.”
Barnes has a reputation as a combustible character in the sport having famously derided the Olympic bronze medal he won in Beijing in the wake of a one-sided semi-final defeat.
But the Belfast boxer maintained he would be able to put the drug-test issue aside as he focuses on retaining the Commonwealth light-flyweight title he claimed in Delhi in 2010.
Barnes added: “If you’re angry it affects your performance and it doesn’t let you focus properly.
“This my third Commonwealth Games and since I made my debut in Melbourne eight years ago I have won medals all over the world and I have trained and fought properly.
“For me it is all about defending my title.
“I drew with the world number one (Zou Shiming) in the semi-finals in London and that proved to me that on my day I can beat anyone.”
Northern Ireland’s general team manager Alison Moffitt said the timing of the drugs tests caused “discomfort” for the athletes concerned.
Moffitt said: “Team NI is fully supportive of the anti-doping programme and all athletes and support staff fully adhered to the requirements of the procedures.
“Unfortunately the timing of a recent request caused discomfort for a number of athletes who had just finished training and were in a state of dehydration as they make weight for competition which starts in a few days’ time.
“All personnel performed their roles efficiently and within the published guidelines.”
Conlan was able to fulfil his own drugs testing requirements and return to the athletes’ village shortly after 11pm.
He said: “Paddy is one of the grumpiest people you’ll ever meet when he is woken up early in the morning.
“Usually it’s hilarious to see his face at moments like that but I had to feel sorry for him this morning.”
Conlan went into his first Commonwealth Games in Delhi four years ago as a top-level novice but is now very much the man to beat in the 56kg division.
He won bantamweight bronze at the London 2012 Olympics and followed it with a European silver medal last year.
Conlan said: “I think I’ve grown massively since Delhi - I was only a boy and I was the youngest and least experienced on the team.”
“Now I’m one of the most experienced and I’m very confident coming into these Games. I feel the expectation but it pushes me on and I’m very confident I’m going to go out and do the job.”