Bajrang Punia Under Provisional Suspension After Alleged Refusal to Submit Urine Sample

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Bajrang has been requested to submit a written explanation by May 7 detailing why he refused to provide a urine sample.

“On the same day, a media report announced the provisional suspension of Olympic bronze medalist Bajrang Punia for declining to provide a sample, and the wrestler utilized social media to present his defense.”

In a message shared on platform X, Punia stated that while collecting his sample in March, he requested an explanation regarding using expired kits during his out-of-competition test in December. Bajrang expressed his willingness to provide his sample once he received a response to his previous complaint.

Bajrang’s social media statement followed reports of NADA’s provisional suspension after he allegedly declined to provide a urine sample during trials at the Sports Authority of India center in Sonipat on March 10. According to The Tribune, Bajrang received a notice stating that he was “immediately provisionally suspended from participating in any competition or activity until a final decision is made at a hearing.”

Despite Bajrang’s loss in the 65kg trials, Sujeet Kalal will represent India at the World Qualifiers for the Paris Olympics scheduled for May 9. However, the provisional suspension could potentially hinder Bajrang, a bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, from pursuing another opportunity at the Summer Games. A Wrestling Federation of India official affirmed that the winner of the Olympic quota will need to defeat the winner of another national trial to secure a berth in Paris.

“I want to discuss the reports regarding my alleged refusal to undergo a doping test!”.  I did not decline to provide my sample to NADA officials. Instead, I asked them to address my concerns regarding the expired kit they previously brought for my sample collection before proceeding with the dope test. My legal representative, Vidush Singhania, will respond accordingly,” Bajrang posted on platform X.

The incident with the expired kits occurred in December when NADA officials visited Bajrang to collect samples. Bajrang shared a video stating that the utilized kits were past their expiration date.

“This video is significant for everyone to observe and contemplate. How can we trust the system if the procedures are not adhered to? How can we be sure that no manipulation occurs throughout the hearing expressed in the video?

Bajrang’s lawyer, Vidushpat Singhania, stated: “We require access to the case documents. We intend to submit a response to the NADA notice shortly.”

Sanjay Singh, the President of WFI, stated that the federation had yet to receive a copy of the NADA notification that provisionally suspended Bajrang.

When the hearing commences, Bajrang must attend before a disciplinary panel, a procedure that might extend for weeks or even months before completion.

As per the regulations outlined in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, declining or neglecting, without valid justification, to comply with sample collection after being notified as per the applicable anti-doping rules or intentionally avoiding sample collection constitutes a violation of anti-doping rules.

During the trials in Sonipat, Bajrang lost 9-3 to Rohit in the semifinal. Following the loss, he promptly left the venue and did not participate in the subsequent third placings.

Bajrang played a significant role in the protests against former Wrestling Federation of India president and BJP MP Brig Bhushan Sharan Singh, who faced allegations of sexual harassment from six women wrestlers.

Brij Bhushan has been held accountable for facing potential prosecution on charges of sexual harassment, molestation, and stalking of women wrestlers, as stated in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police.

In the December WFI elections, Sanjay Singh, a close associate of the six-time MP, was elected to the position. As a result, Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik retired from wrestling, world championship medalist Vinesh Phogat relinquished her Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards, and Bajrang returned his Padma Shri.