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Sports ministry, IOA refuse to bail out Indian Weightlifting Federation

A day after getting $500,000 fine, Indian Weightlifting Federation got another jolt on Saturday evening. The Union sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association have refused to help the ‘tainted’ association.

The decision was taken at a high power meeting between sports minister MS Gill and IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi in New Delhi on Saturday.

Sources in the ministry revealed that Gill and Kalmadi felt that they should act tough with the association, which has a history of dope taint. “For now, we are not planning to extend any help to them,” a ministry official told DNA. The Indian Weightlifting Federation had approached the IOA for help on Friday. The decision effectively means that any little hopes of Indian lifters’ participation in the SAFF Games in Dhaka later this month have vanished.

Indian Weightlifting Federation said it will call a meeting to take stock of the situation soon. “The committee will meet on February 21 in Udaipur and decide on how to raise the funds to pay the fine,” Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary Sahdev Yadav said. He said it would be ‘unfair’ to punish the country’s lifters for the ‘sins’ of a few. Yadav’s predecessor BR Gulati endorsed his opinion.

“Why should 60 lifters suffer for what six offenders have done,” Gulati, who resigned recently after the latest doping scandal broke out, said.

When asked if the federation could raise the money, Yadav said he had no clue. “Such a huge amount cannot be raised in three days (to enable the Indian lifters to participate in Dhaka Games which start on January 29). At our meeting in Udaipur we will decide on whether and how to pay the money.” He revealed that the federation’s coffers are virtually empty.

As if the fine imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation
wasn’t enough, the fines of six offenders may also have to be paid by the federation. “If they don’t pay from their pockets, it will become our responsibility,” said Yadav.

The international body recently banned Shailaja Pujari for life and imposed four-year ban on Vicky Butta and Harbhajan Singh Rajesh Singh, Sunita Rani, A Vijayadevi besides a fine of $5000 on each of them. (by DNA)