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National anti-doping agency suspends Bajrang Punia again, issues notice of charge

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On Sunday, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) suspended wrestler Bajrang Punia for a second time, just three weeks after the Anti-Disciplinary Doping Panel (ADDP) had lifted his initial suspension.

The ADDP had revoked the suspension on May 31, citing that NADA had not yet issued a 'notice of charge' to the Tokyo Games bronze medallist.

Bajrang Punia was initially suspended on April 23 for refusing to provide a urine sample during the selection trials in Sonepat on March 10. The refusal led to a suspension from both NADA and the World Governing Body UWW.

Following the revocation of his provisional suspension, NADA has now formally charged Bajrang with a violation of Article 2.3 of the National Anti-Doping Rules, 2021, and re-imposed the suspension. Bajrang has until July 11 to request a hearing or accept the charge.

In his defense, Bajrang maintains that he did not refuse to give a sample but sought clarification from NADA regarding the use of expired kits for his sample collection in December 2023. He stated that he only wanted NADA to respond to his email about the expired kits before submitting his urine sample.

NADA clarified the reasons for their actions, stating that the chaperone/DCO had approached Bajrang and informed him of the requirement to provide a urine sample for doping analysis. Despite repeated requests and detailed explanations of the consequences of non-compliance, Bajrang refused to provide the sample unless his query regarding the expired kits was addressed.

NADA emphasized that if the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) is upheld, it will seek the disqualification of results from the event during which the violation occurred, including the forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes. Additionally, NADA may choose to recover financial costs associated with the violation and impose a fine as stipulated under the NADR, 2021.

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