NADA lifts suspension on Bajrang Punia until further notice

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Bajrang Punia

Indian Olympic medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia has been given a reprieve as the National Anti-Doping Agency’s Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) has revoked his provisional suspension. This decision allows Punia to resume training and competing until NADA issues a Notice of Charge.

The suspension was initially imposed on Punia after he allegedly refused to provide a sample for a dope test following the selection trials in March. The incident occurred during the national men’s trials for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Punia had reportedly declined to give his urine sample after losing a bout and had not participated in the 3rd-4th place match.

Respite for Bajrang Punia

Punia, with the help of his lawyers, challenged the suspension. He clarified that he had never denied providing his sample but questioned why NADA had sent an expired kit to collect his sample.

The ADDP order, as quoted by PTI, stated, “The hearing panel is of the opinion that at this stage when Notice of Charge is yet to be issued to the Athlete and without going into the merits of the submission/explanations/justifications given by the Athlete for refusing to give the sample and counter the submission of Ld. Counsel appearing for the NADA, the provisional suspension of the Athlete is revoked till NADA decides to issue a Notice of Charge formally charging the athlete for violation of Anti-doping rules, 2021.”

If the Notice of Charge is not issued to the athlete then the matter will be closed, however, if NADA goes on to issue a Notice of Charge then a final hearing will be conducted.

This development comes as a significant relief for Punia, who can now focus on his training and upcoming competitions. However, the final decision still hangs in the balance, contingent on whether NADA decides to issue a Notice of Charge. Despite the uncertainty, the lifting of the suspension marks a positive turn in Punia’s career, allowing him to continue his journey in the sport he has so passionately pursued.

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