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Indian lifters leave for C'wealth C'ships in doping backdrop

Source: PTI
October 19, 2009 19:59 IST
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A 29-member Indian squad on Monday left for Malaysia to take part in the Commonwealth Senior and Junior Weightlifting Championships in the backdrop of a series of dope flunks which left the national federation with the prospect of being banned internationally.

Seven lifters have tested positive -- five under World Anti-Doping out-of-competition tests last month in Pune while two under National Anti-Doping tests in August.

Woman 75 kg lifter Shailaja Pujari, who returned positive in both WADA and NADA tests, has been dropped from the original 30-member squad, as also another Andhra Pradesh lifter Seepana Yamini, who was to take part in 58 kg in the senior category in the event starting tomorrow.

The other five lifters who tested positive were Harbhajan Singh (94 kg), Rajesh Kumar (94 kg), Vicky Batta (56 kg), Vijayalaxmi Devi (69 kg) and Priyadarshini.

Harbhajan, Rajesh, Vicky and Vijayalaxmi failed WADA dope tests while Priyadarshini flunked NADA test.

Andhra Pradesh's Krishna Veni has been drafted in the squad and she will compete in 63 kg in the Championships to be held in the Malaysian city of Penang.

India is participating in the Commonwealth Games for the first time after 2005. In 2006, there were no Commonwealth Championships as it was a Commonwealth Games year.

In 2007, India was just coming out of a ban following dope flunks by its lifters before and during the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Last year, Indian lifters missed the bus for the Commonwealth Championships in Cyprus due to visa wrangles.

Indian Weightlifting Federation is now facing the prospect of being banned up to two years besides a fine of at least $50,000.

Under International Weightlifting Federation rules, a national body can be banned up to two years if three or more of their lifters failed dope tests conducted under WADA.

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