Bajrang Punia suspended by NADA after failing to give urine sample for dope testing

Bajrang Punia. Source: X

Celebrated wrestler Bajrang Punia is in the dock and has been provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after failing to provide a urine sample after trials were held at NIS Patiala on March 10. These trials were for the Asian Championship and Asian Olympic qualifiers held in Bishkek last month.

News of Bajrang’s suspension was first reported on Sunday by The Tribune, a daily newspaper. It is well known that Bajrang has been in the news for wrong reasons, which included his debacle at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year. He had spent more time on protests against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) bosses, and less in training.

The same Bajrang had even mocked the dope-control protocols in recent times, evident from his social-media handle on X. 

RevSportz can confirm that the suspension letter has been sent to Bajrang and, surprisingly, not to the WFI. A copy also went to the ad-hoc body which stands dissolved by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

News of Bajrang being suspended has gone viral and, with this, he can kiss his chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics goodbye. Interestingly, he was not selected for the final Olympic qualifier to be held in Istanbul from May 9 to 12.

“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 said in its communication dated April 23, as reported in The Tribune. 

Bajrang has been speaking out against the authorities and used social media aggressively. However, the latest suspension is bound to hit him hard, and could spell the end of his career. He won a bronze medal three years ago at the Tokyo Olympics.

Just to jog the readers’ memory, Bajrang and anti-doping had been intertwined on social media recently. He had taunted NADA officials in the past, but the same organisation has now shown him in poor light.

Bajrang has been given two days’ time (May 7) to explain why he missed giving the urine sample. Knowing Bajrang and his stomach for a fight, he will bring a battery of lawyers into play.  “If you do accept the consequences, the case will be resolved without further disciplinary proceedings, subject to the right of appeal,” said the letter. “If you disagree, the matter will be referred for adjudication to the anti-doping disciplinary panel.”

As things stand, Bajrang will be ineligible to take part in the final Olympic trials, likely to be held in June. All the wrestlers who have won quota places will have to go through those trials.

WFI officials, perhaps cognisant of the sensitive nature of the news, have preferred to stay quiet for now.

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