Indian lifters face Games doubt over unpaid fine
By Amlan Chakraborty
Indian weightlifters remain unsure of their participation at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October as the country’s federation struggles to cover an unpaid fine for repeated doping offences.After six lifters failed drugs tests last year, the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) was handed a $500,000 fine by the international body and face suspension from global competition if the amount is not cleared in full by the end of this month.
IWF secretary general Sahdev Yadav said the federation had paid $125,000 of the fine to date but was banking on the sports ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to bail them out by making up the shortfall.
“Our lifters will not be allowed to compete if we don’t pay the remaining $375,000 by Aug. 31. We have approached the sports ministry and the IOA and we are confident we can make the payment before the deadline,” Yadav told Reuters on Wednesday.
“Our lifters have really good prospects and I’m expecting 14 medals, including five gold, from the Games. We are aiming for second place in the medal tally but if our lifters don’t get to compete, we would slip to the seventh or eighth.
“We are yet to hear from either the sports ministry or IOA but we do not foresee a Games in Delhi without Indian lifters.” The federation has named a 15-member contingent, including a reserve lifter, for the Oct. 3-14 Games and the list includes Monika Devi, who returns after serving a two-year ban for doping.
Doping has been a recurring problem with the IWF, which was slapped with a one-year ban by the International Weightlifting Federation in 2006.
India’s men and women hockey teams may also miss the Games over a dispute between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the sports ministry, who are backing rival groups to run the sport in the country.
NEW DELHI, Aug 11 (Reuters)