Bajrang Punia provisionally suspended by NADA

Bajrang was handed a provisional suspension on April 23 by National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and asked to send his reply by May 7 to avoid further disciplinary action.

Published : May 05, 2024 12:11 IST , Kolkata - 2 MINS READ

Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia | Photo Credit: PTI

Bajrang Punia | Photo Credit: PTI

After World and Olympic medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia’s provisional suspension due to his ‘refusal’ to give his urine sample to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) officials came to light, the athlete gave his defence while the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) raised a question about it.

The NADA officials had approached several wrestlers, including Bajrang, for their samples during the selection trials (for Olympic qualifiers) conducted in Sonipat on March 10 by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA)-appointed ad-hoc committee, but they could not get Bajrang’s sample.

After 44 days, the NADA sent a letter, dated April 23, to Bajrang saying he had been provisionally suspended for his ‘refusal’ to give his urine sample for dope testing.

Tagging one of his old videos, where he was seen questioning the NADA officials why they had brought an outdated kit to collect his sample, Bajrang took to social media X to tell his side of the story.

“I want to clarify about the news coming about me for dope test!!! I never refused to give the sample to NADA officials, I requested them to answer me as to what action they took on the expired kit which they had earlier brought to collect my sample. And then take my dope test. My lawyer Vidush(pat) Singhania will reply to this letter in due course of time,” said Bajrang on Sunday.

The WFI questioned why NADA, after taking more than a month to send a notice to the athlete, sent a copy of the notice to the ad-hoc body, which was dissolved on April 18, instead of the federation.

“NADA has been doing all the correspondence regarding athletes’ whereabouts and other matters with us, but they sent a copy of the notice of (Bajrang’s) suspension to the non-existent ad-hoc body without informing us. Had Bajrang competed in the Federation Cup in Varanasi on April 24, then we would have been in trouble for letting a suspended athlete take part in an event,” WFI president Sanjay Singh said.

NADA officials were present at Varanasi to collect samples from wrestlers participating in the Federation Cup.

So far, India has not won a Paris Olympic quota place in the men’s freestyle 65kg weight class. In case Sujeet Kalkal manages to earn one in the last qualifier in Istanbul this month, then the suspension may jeopardise Bajrang’s chances of challenging the quota place winner in the final trials next month.

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