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The World Wrestling Organization has named Bajrang ‘suspended’ after receiving a letter from NADA

Wrestler Bajrang Punia

Wrestler Bajrang Punia File photo | AP

CHENNAI: A few days after being provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for allegedly refusing to provide his urine sample for doping test, the United World Wrestling has updated its record and declared the Olympic bronze medalist of Tokyo, Bajrang Punia, listed as suspended .

Interestingly, the world wrestling governing body said that Bajrang’s suspension by NADA will last (at least) until December 31, 2024, in its internal records after NADA communicated its provisional suspension decision to the UWW. It should be understood that if an anti-doping agency enforces a provisional suspension, it will be enforced among all signatories of the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, including both national and international federations, until the hearing is over.

It has also been learned that the UWW may take the issue to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) was angry with the NADA for not communicating the suspension decision to it. NADA instead informed the now-defunct ad-hoc committee set up by the Indian Olympic Association to manage the sport in the country. WFI president Sanjay Kumar Singh has written to NADA in this regard and expressed his displeasure for not keeping the federation informed.

The UWW update says Bajrang remains suspended under NADA’s provisional suspension for alleged anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). “Yes, Bajrang’s suspension has been updated on the UWW website,” a source with knowledge of the matter told The New Indian Express. It is to be noted that Bajrang was given till May 7 to file his reply. Bajrang’s lawyer confirmed to TNIE that the response was submitted within the stipulated time. The lawyer has also requested an expeditious hearing from NADA.

Bajrang is said to have refused to provide a urine sample following his semi-final loss during the selection trials held on March 10 to choose the national team for the two Olympic qualifying tournaments. The wrestler instead sought an answer from the NADA officials for bringing expired kits to him a few months ago. Interestingly, NADA also issued a domicile failure notice to the multiple world medalist before the incident. It forced the athlete to postpone his trip to Russia for training. Bajrang’s lawyer also spoke to TNIE on the issue and said that NADA was aware of confusion over three whereabouts failures and the agency had admitted its mistake and withdrawn the notice.

Bajrang, along with Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and multiple world medalist Vinesh Phogat, led a protest against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh last year. The trio accused the Uttar Pradesh strongman of sexually harassing female wrestlers. The case is pending in court.