Two years after she was unceremoniously dumped out of the Beijing Olympics for flunking a dope test, top Indian woman lifter Monica Devi today said she wants to silence her critics by winning a Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.
Monica, who was stopped from going to Beijing at the eleventh hour on doping charges in August 2008, said she has forgotten the most difficult period of her career to fully concentrate on the October 3-14 multi-sport event here.
“That (doping) controversy was the most difficult period of my career. I was devastated and had it not been the support from my husband and family, I would have never made a comeback to weightlifting again. The federation also supported in my hour of crisis,” Monica told reporters on the second day of the two—day selection-trial-cum-Commonwealth-Games-Test-event here.
“I will not feel complete as a weightlifter without the Commonwealth Games gold. I have forgotten the disappointment and controversy of two years ago and now want to prove that I can also bring laurels to the country by winning gold.
“During the past two years before making a comeback to weightlifting in June this year, I have been training at home with some equipment,” she said at the Weightlifting arena at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex.
The Manipuri lifter won silver in the 69kg category in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games four years ago.
“This time, I am competing in 75kg and my training in Patiala is going great. I am hopeful of a gold medal in the Games if I can make a bit of improvement,” said the All-India police lifter who had an effort of 215kg (195+120) to finish top at the trials today.
Asked who would be her main challenger in the Commonwealth Games, she said, “There is a Canadian girl who won the gold in 69kg in Melbourne and she will be my main competitor.”
Monica lifted 222 kg while competing in 69kg in Melbourne while Canada’s Jeane Elizabeth had totalled 229 to win gold.
Monica, however, conceded that the equipments and facilities provided by the Government to the weightlifters were not the best in the world.
“Equipment and other things like food supplements would not be enough if you want to compete at the Olympics level.
But still what has been provided by the government is manageable.”
National coach Harnam Singh also admitted that the food supplements given by the Government were not enough and it is the passion for the sport which is motivating players to deliver their best for the country.
“Ideally, the weightlifters should get at least Rs 600 per day to compete at the highest level but they are getting Rs 300 only. Rs 200 comes from the government while the national federation contributes another Rs 100,” he said.
Asked if the lack of food supplements could hinder in India getting a rich haul of medals in the Games, Singh said.
“Rs 300 is manageable though it’s not sufficient.”
“We are expecting 15 medals in the Games that means each of the lifter will get the medal — eight by men and seven by women,” he added.