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Bajrang Punia provisionally suspended for failing to submit urine sample

If the charges do not get revoked, Punia, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, will not be allowed to compete at Paris Olympics qualifiers.

Bajrang Punia Commonwealth Games 2022

Bajrang Punia is a Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist. (Photo credit: SAI)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 May 2024 6:32 AM GMT

Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia, a 65kg weight category wrestler, has been provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for failing to submit his urine sample during selection trials in Sonepat on March 10.

The suspension has threatened Punia's bid to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

If the charges do not get revoked, Punia, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, will not be allowed to compete at the selection trials scheduled for June.

So far, no India could win a 2024 Paris Olympics quota place in the 65 weight category.

With Punia suspended, Sujeet Kalkal will represent India in the weight class at the World Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for May 9 in Istanbul, Turkey.

“With subject to paragraph 4:1:2 below and in accordance with article 7.4 of the NADR 2021, you are immediately provisionally suspended from participation in any competition or activity prior to the final decision reached at a hearing in this matter,” NADA had said in its communication dated April 23.

Meanwhile, in an interesting turn of events, NADA addressed the letter of Punia's provisional suspension to the now dissolved ad hoc committee, which was in charge of day-to-day affairs of wrestling governance in India, instead of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which got back its international UWW recognition in February.

Why Punia did not submit his sample

Punia, in his defence, alleged that he was given an expired dope collection kit a couple of months ago; hence he refused to comply with NADA's dope control officer.

“Punia, surrounded by his supporters, continuously repeated his statement and immediately left the venue refusing to give dope sample,” the DCO’s report stated later.

NADA has now sought a detailed written explanation from Punia on his action by May 7.

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