Weightlifting federation lashes out at ministry, IOA


New Delhi : Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) secretary-general Sahdev Yadav Friday lashed out at the government and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for being indifferent in helping them raise the $500,000 fine to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) as a doping sanction.

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The IWLF had paid $125,000 of the amount and had been pinning their hopes on the sports ministry and IOA to bail them out of the crisis. But as time for the Aug 31 deadline is running out, so are their hopes.

Both Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the sports ministry have refused any financial help to IWLF to repay the fine.

The sports ministry had asked IOA to resolve the issue immediately, but the IOA said that it can’t help the IWLF financially as it would be seen as “abetment to doping”.

If IWFL fails to meet the deadline, India will be barred from competing in any international event including Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games and the subsequent Asian Games in November.

Yadav wonders why they have been allotted budget for Commonwealth Games training if the players won’t be able to compete at the Games.

“We have been sending letters to Sports Ministry and the IOA for help from three months but have got no reply. We have even asked them to give us a loan, which we will pay in due course but to no avail. The players are training hard and are happy with the facilities but their morale is down. They don’t know whether they will be able to compete in the Games where they have been targeting 14 medals,” Yadav told IANS.

“All the sponsors have backed out thanks to the irresponsible media reporting. We somehow have collected a little over a crore (of rupees) for the fine but even that will go waste if we do not get help from IOA or government. What was the point of players working so hard?”

The sports ministry has refused to pay the amount because it is supporting a dope-free sport through its own National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and doesn’t want to be seen in a bad light.

In another reminder to the IOA Friday, the sports ministry’s joint secretary Injeti Srinivas said that it is the “primary obligation” of IOA and Commonwealth Games Organising Committee to ensure that all teams participate in the Games.

“This matter also came up for discussions during the meeting of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president and chief executive and you had with the Union Sports Minister on Aug 19, 2010 in which the minister had observed that the penalty imposed was prohibitive and far beyond the capacity of the IWLF,” said Srinivas.

“It is the primary obligation of the IOA as a National Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games to ensure that the Indian teams participate in all sports disciplines and all events. We request you to kindly take up the matter urgently with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for substantial reduction of the penalty amount and re-scheduling the payment,” he added.