Facing a ban from the international parent body after a series of dope flunks, India has withdrawn its weightlifting team from the World Championships in Korea next week, the national federation said today.

Indian Weightlifting Federation had sent a preliminary list of 12 lifters - six men and as many women - for the November 20-29 event at Goyang City in South Korea but now has withdrawn fearing a ban from the International Weightlifting Federation.

The international body’s executive board meeting in Goyang City on November 18 will take a decision on India’s case after five lifters returned positive for banned substances in their urine samples taken by WADA testers in September in Pune.

“We have decided not to field any lifter in the World Championships as our case will be taken up at the International Weightlifting Federation Executive Board meeting in Korea on November 18,” national federation General Secretary Baldev Raj Gulati said.

“I don’t want to anticipate anything at this moment if we will be banned or not or how long the period of ban will be.

But if there is a suspension or ban the lifters will be demoralised if they go there for the Championships. So we have decided not to take part in the event,” he said.

Gulati, who will present India’s case before the international body executive committee, said the national federation had got the clearance from the government but has decided against participation in the prestigious event.

“There is no problem from the side of the government. They had given clearance to participate in the Championships, including the bearing of the cost. If a ban is handed we will lose the entry fee, expenses on the air travel and accommodation, etc. The government said it was ready to bear the expenses but we have decided not to participate,” he added.

Other national body officials said it was good that India is not fielding their lifters in the competition.

“Firstly, World Championships is tough and we are nowhere near to get a medal even though our lifters would have got the exposure. Secondly, the cost would be huge. The entry fee per lifter is USD 200 and then we have to bear the cost of accommodation besides the air fare, etc,” an official said.

Five lifters had returned positive for banned substances in the out-of-competition dope tests conducted by WADA on September 10 while another two flunked tests conducted by NADA in August.

Under International Weightlifting Federation rules, a national body whose three or more lifters test positive in a calendar year can be banned for a maximum of four years.

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