Admitting that the recent spate of positive ‘positive’ dope tests among Indian weightlifters had brought national shame, the Indian Weightlifting Federation Executive Committee handed over the control of the federation to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday.
The IOA President, Suresh Kalmadi, who released the resignation letter of the federation Executive, signed by 11 members, to the media on Tuesday, stated that the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President, Tamas Ajan, had written to the IOA to “withdraw the leadership of the Indian Weightlifting Federation and call for fresh elections.”
Eight weightlifters had tested positive in recent weeks, six of them in tests conducted by the IWF/WADA, leading to a situation where India could be banned for a period of up to two years, apart from being fined, by the IWF.
If the suspension does come about it would be the third time in five years that the country would be undergoing such a ban. The IWF Executive Board is expected to discuss the matter at its meeting in Goyang City, Korea, on Wednesday.
In a damage-control exercise to possibly prevent punitive sanctions against the federation, jeopardising India’s participation in next year’s Commonwealth Games here, the IOA moved in to pressure the federation Executive to resign on Monday.
Further pressure was exerted by the Union Sports Minister, M.S. Gill, who asked the federation officials to take moral responsibility, according to a PTI report. The minister also called up Mr. Kalmadi and asked him to take remedial measures.
“These adverse dope tests, despite federation’s best efforts to curb the menace have brought national shame and jeopardised the chances of the Indian Weightlifting Federation’s participation in the forthcoming CWG 2010,” the federation stated in its letter to Mr. Kalmadi.
“We have no resources for the corrective measures,” it wrote, clearly hinting at its inability to raise $50,000 or more as fine (apart from another fine of $5,000 for each of the six ‘positive’ reports returned in IWF tests) in case the international body was not to enforce a suspension on India or it was impose both suspension and fine.
“We are committed to do everything possible to protect the Indian contingent’s participation in CWG 2010 and preserve the federation through any measures to this end,” the Executive members stated.
Mr. Kalmadi said that the federation had requested him to take appropriate action and elections to the federation would be held soon.
The federation letter mentioned that in case IOA did not take any action deemed fit by it, the federation Secretary-General would call for fresh elections “in which he will not contest.”