The Union Sports Ministry has written to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to intervene in the matter of the fine imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on the Indian federation and the latter's predicament with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games round the corner.
The Indian federation, imposed a fine of $5,00,000 by the IWF for returning six positive dope tests by its lifters in September last year, has so far paid $1,25,000. The balance, amounting to approximately Rs. 1.77 crore, has to be paid before the Commonwealth Games for the host to field a team in the Games.
In its letter to the IOA President, Suresh Kalmadi, the ministry has stated that the IOA should take up the matter with the IWF in order to facilitate the participation of the Indian weightlifters who had been training hard with an eye on the Games.
“You will agree that the avoidable incidents that have led to a fine being imposed on the Federation should not have consequences on innocent weightlifters as well as (the) newly-formed body that is trying hard to improve performance in weightlifting,” says the ministry letter.
The ministry is not in a position to help the Indian federation since it would amount to encouraging doping.
The federation officials have been quoted earlier as saying the IOA had bailed it out initially by advancing the amount to pay off part of the fine that enabled Indian teams to compete in the South Asian Games and the World youth championships.
Now, with time running out and with an August 31 IWF deadline, the federation is desperate. The ministry wants the IOA to pursue all possibilities including taking up the matter with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so that the country can look forward to claiming around 10-12 medals in the Commonwealth Games.
Last time, in Melbourne, India bagged nine medals including three golds. It had two dope positive cases in Melbourne — Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh — the same as in the previous Games in Manchester.
India's dubious record
India's dubious record in major games also included two “positive” cases, both weightlifters, reported at the Athens Olympics. The country has had two suspensions of a year each in weightlifting since 2004 because of its doping violations and was lucky to escape with a fine this year when six lifters tested positive in an out-of-competition test conducted by the IWF at Pune.