National weightlifting camp restarts with thin attendance

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Patiala, Feb 20 (UNI) The national weightlifting camp for senior and junior men and women lifters, mired in the alleged doping controversy involving the foreign coach from Austria, Maged Salama, restarted in a state of suspense at the NIS here today with 12 men and seven women lifters, out of 60 lifters, reporting in the camp.

The camp was called off in the first week of this month by the executive director of the NIS, L S Ranawat, on the plea of ''thin attendance'' in the camp, whereas the foreign coach had resigned as he thought that some of the senior lifters were high on doping to avoid strenuous training in the camp and submitted his resignation to the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Talking to UNI this morning, Harbhajan Singh, President of Indian Weightlifting Federation, who held in-camera meeting yesterday at the NIS with Maged Salama, national coach Hansa Sharma, government observer S L Salwan and camp In-charge at the NIS, Kamaljit Kooner, said ''all the lifters called for the camp will be put to doping test at the NIS before they are permitted to join the camp.

''If we get suspicious about any lifter in the camp for consuming any banned substance, his or her urine sample will be sent to the Dope Testing Laboratory in Singapore, Malaysia or Bangkok,'' he said.

The President also said that random dope test will also be carried out on the lifters during the camp, besides strict checking in the rooms where the lifters are lodged to ensure that they are not in possession of any banned substance or performance-enchancing drug.

The foreign coach, Maged Salama, told UNI this morning that ''I will stay in the camp only if the IWF accepts my terms and conditions.'' Harbhajan Singh said that he fully agreed with Maged Salama and will see that ''he is very much in the ongoing coaching camp'' as India prepares for the Asian Weightlifting Championship starting on April 27 in Japan.

UNI XC JN AB KN1716

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