Bajrang Punia Suspended by UWW: Refusal to Undergo Dope Test
Bajrang Punia Suspended by UWW: Refusal to Undergo Dope Test

 New Delhi: The world governing body of wrestling, UWW, has suspended Bajrang Punia until the end of this year following NADA's decision to provisionally suspend him for refusing to undergo a dope test. Despite being aware of NADA's order, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sanctioned close to Rs 9 lakh for his training abroad. Bajrang, one of India's most successful wrestlers, was suspended by NADA on April 23 after receiving a whereabouts failure notice on April 18.

In his defense, the Tokyo Olympics bronze-medalist stated that he never refused to give his sample for testing but merely asked the Dope Control Officer to explain the presence of expired kits brought to take his sample.

Bajrang mentioned that he has not received any communication from the UWW about his suspension. However, the world governing body updated its internal system, clearly stating that he stands suspended. The update on Bajrang's profile reads, "Suspended for the following reason until Dec 31, 2024."

"Provisionally suspended by NADO IND for alleged ADRV (Anti-Doping Rule Violation)," was the reason mentioned.

In a surprising turn, the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), in its April 25 meeting, approved a sanction of Rs 8,82,000 plus airfare (actual) for Bajrang's training in Dagestan, Russia, from May 28. Bajrang's initial proposal was for a 35-day training trip starting from April 24. However, due to conflicting travel dates arising from his whereabouts failure, he chose to defer the travel plans to May 28, 2024. The proposal also included travel plans for his strength and conditioning coach Kaazi Kiron Mustafa Hasan and his sparring partner Jitender.

Neither Sandip Pradhan, the SAI Director-General, nor Col. Rakesh Yadav, Joint CEO TOPS, responded to calls or messages when reached out for an explanation regarding the decision to sanction his training.

Bajrang confirmed that he had submitted a proposal for approval to SAI. "I am also surprised that SAI cleared it. I have actually cancelled my plan; I am not going anywhere for training now," Bajrang said, adding that his lawyer has filed the reply to NADA.

In the same MOC meeting, Sarita Mor, competing in the women's 57kg category, was sanctioned Rs 5,96,000 for her training stint in the USA along with her husband and coach Rahul Mann starting from May 5.Anshu Malik secured the women's 57kg category Paris Olympics quota during the Asian Qualifiers in Bishkek. Anshu's training stint in Japan, along with her father and coach Dharamveer Malik, was also approved at a cost of Rs 14,67,000. If the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) decides to hold one final selection event, Sarita will have to win in the trials to challenge quota-winner Anshu.

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