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India banned from international weightlifting

International Weightlifting Federation move means India’s chances of taking part in Doha Asian games in December and Beijing Olympics in 2008 are dim.

April 1, 2006

India as a nation faced disgrace on Thursday after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) slapped a ban on its weightlifters following the doping scandal which rocked commonwealth games.

This would effectively mean that Indian weightlifters may not be able to participate in international competitions.
The duration of the ban will decided in May. The Asian games starts in Doha in December. The country’s chances to take part in the Beijing Olympics 2008 also looked grim after the harsh measure by the IWF.

The International Weightlifting Federation said on its website that Prameelavalli Bodari, Shailaja Pujari, Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh were found guilty of offences.

While Raju and Singh tested positive at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Bodari and Pujari failed dope tests before it and was banned by the Indian Weightlifting Federation from making the trip to Australia.

The Sports Authority of India's Dope Control Centre in New Delhi had conducted three tests on Tejinder and Raju between December and February. They had cleared all the tests.

But the International body found that the Centre itself had a murky underbelly after it failed a sample test by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), casting a shadow on anti-doping efforts and procedures in India.
It may be recalled that women weightlifters Sanamacha Chanu and Pratima Kumari, who were cleared by the Dope Control Centre, had failed the dope test at the Athens Olympics.

India has decided not to contest the decision, H.J. Dora, the chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent, at the Commonwealth Games informed.

He said the Indian weightlifting body has decided to take strict action against anyone found guilty of doping and was also toying with the idea of imposing life bans.

"I feel sorry for the lifters who are innocent. They can't compete for no fault of theirs but we have to be very strict if we are to root out the problem," Dora said.

Karnam Mallsewari, the country’s only weightlifter to win an Olympic medal, said the country’s reputation was tarnished by the dope tests.

Malleswari had claimed the the bronze at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

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