UWW suspends Bajrang Punia; SAI Approves His Training Stint Abroad But Wrestler Cancels Trip

UWW suspends Bajrang Punia; SAI Approves His Training Stint Abroad But Wrestler Cancels Trip

Bajrang Punia, one of the country's most successful wrestlers, was suspended by NADA on April 23 after being served a whereabouts failure notice on April 18.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, May 09, 2024, 03:16 PM IST
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Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia |

Wrestling's world governing body UWW has suspended Bajrang Punia till the end of this year following NADA's decision to hand him a provisional suspension for refusing to undergo a dope test.

However, in a rather surprising decision, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sanctioned close to Rs nine lakh for his training abroad despite being well aware of NADA's order.

Reason behind Bajrang's suspension

Bajrang, one of the country's most successful wrestlers, was suspended by NADA on April 23 after being served a whereabouts failure notice on April 18.

In his defence, the Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist said he never refused to give his sample for testing but merely asked the Dope Control Officer to explain the presence of expired kits which were brought to take his sample.

No communication from UWW

Bajrang told PTI that he has not received any communication from the UWW about his suspension but the world governing body while updating its internal system clearly mentions that he stands suspended.

"Suspended for the following reason until Dec 31, 2024," reads the update on Bajrang's profile.

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

Nearly ₹9 lakh sanctioned to Bajrang

Interestingly, the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), in its April 25 meeting, was informed that Bajrang has been sanctioned Rs 8,82,000 plus air fare (actual) for his proposal to train at Dagestan, Russia from May 28.

Bajrang's initial proposal was for a 35-day training trip from April 24 but, as per the minutes of MOC meeting, due to "conflicting travel dates due to his whereabouts failure, he chose to defer the travel plans from 24th April, 2024 to 28th May, 2024."

The proposal also included travel plans of his strength and conditioning coach Kaazi Kiron Mustafa Hasan and his sparring partner Jitender.

Bajrang's response

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

Bajrang confirmed that he had given 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.

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