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Bajrang Punia suspended by UWW following refusal to give dope test

Published at :May 10, 2024 at 7:39 PM
Modified at :May 10, 2024 at 7:39 PM
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(Courtesy : @DDNewslive/X)

Ajay Gandhar

Punia refused to give urine sample during olympic selection trial on 10th march.

Olympic bronze medalist Bajrang Punia has been suspended by the United World Wrestling (UWW) until December 31, 2024, for refusing to provide a urine sample for dope testing during the Olympic qualifier selection trials in early March.

The UWW, wrestling’s global governing body, recently updated Bajrang’s profile to show him as “suspended” after he failed to submit his sample to the National Anti-Doping Agency’s (NADA) doping control officers in Sonepat on March 10.

According to the information on UWW’s website, Bajrang stands “provisionally suspended by NATO IND for alleged ADRV (Anti-Doping Rule Violation)” until the end of this year.

This suspension by the world body comes on the heels of NADA provisionally suspending the star grappler last month after he was served with a whereabouts failure notice for skipping the dope test in March.

Punia then took to X (formerly Twitter) and quashed any qualms of refusing to provide his urine sample for doping control, which led to his suspension by the United World Wrestling (UWW) until December 31, 2024.

Taking to the social media, Punia clarified his stance on the matter, stating, “This is to clarify that, I have at no stage refused to give my sample for doping control. On 10 March 2024, when I was approached by alleged doping control officials, I merely reminded them that the last two times they came to collect my sample, they had gotten expired kits once and on the other instance, they had approached me with a single testing kit as opposed to the three testing kits.”

Punia further explained, “I then sought an answer from them as the NADA did not provide an answer to any of my communications demanding an explanation for the same and informed them that I would give my sample upon receiving such an explanation from them.

“Not only did the doping control officials refuse to provide an explanation, but they did not provide me with any proof on this instance of them carrying proper equipment and merely left from the venue where I was at, claiming it to be a refusal from my end.”

The Olympic medalist provided further details, saying, “I continued to be at the venue as I had another bout scheduled for 3/4 position. After my semi-final bout, I met the SAI doctor at the venue for treatment regarding a knee injury suffered during the semifinals of the Wrestling Trials. I only left the venue about an hour after the alleged doping control officials approached me, contrary to how it has been portrayed that I left immediately.”

Punia also raised concerns about the doping control protocol, stating, “In fact, the dope-controlling officer should have accompanied me till I submitted my medical report to the competition manager as per protocol, rather than leaving in a hurry in the middle of the trials, to record my refusal.”

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Addressing the expired kits issue, Punia said, “Even if this incident is treated as refusal, the fact that it was due to NADA using expired kits and not providing an explanation for using them, or giving me comfort, that they had not carried expired kits again, should be considered as a compelling justification.”

The wrestler claimed that his actions were driven by a sense of moral obligation, adding, “I took such a stance solely because of the NADAs actions in the past, which, in the absence of an explanation, could continue a dangerous trend of the use of expired kits or non-compliance with doping control protocol. It is my moral obligation towards the wrestling community and particularly the younger wrestlers, that I exercised here.”

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