Harpal Singh Bedi
Melbourne, Mar 23 (UNI) Another disgracefull chapter is all set to be added to the history of Indian sports with its lifters incurring a one to five years ban from international events after two of them tested positive in the ongoing Commonwealth Games.
Things could not have gone worse for the game in the country as Sailaja Pujari first tested positive and dropped out of the Commonwealth Games contingent while the media here is abuzz with claims that lifter Edwin Raju, who finished fourth in men's 56 kg, and Tejinder Singh, who withdrew minutes before competing in the 85 kg events, had flunked dope test.
According to the first Vice President of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Sam Coffa, also the President of the Australian Federation, Indian lifters run the risk of being slapped a 1-5 five year ban from international events with three such back-to-back cases.
In 2004, lifters Pratima Kumari and Sanamacha Chanu had tested positive in the Athens Olympics and IWF promptly slapped a one-year ban on the Indian federation and with recurring incidents of doping, tougher punishment awaits the Indian lifters.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), however, is tightlipped about the issue and CGF Chief Executive Mike Hooper refused to confirm the drug test results, saying those were confidential until the appeals process had been exhausted.
''The protocols were designed to help protect the athletes' rights,'' he said.
''We're not trying to withhold anything; we're doing what we're supposed to do in relation to a robust anti-doping programme,'' he was quoted as saying by ''The Age''.
Indian weightlifting team manager Harbhajan Singh, however, insists everything is fine and said such reports are ''without any foundation and is utterly baseless''.
In the previous edition of the Games in Manchester also, two weightlifters -- K Madaswamy and Sateesha Rai -- had falied drug tests and interestingly Sateesha is here again this time with the weightlifting squad.
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