The Indian Weightlifting Federation, facing strong action from the international body for a spate of dope cases recently, is paying the price for its "lenient" attitude towards drug cheats, feels India's first Olympic medallist in the sport Karnam Malleswari.
Malleswari, who won a bronze in the 69kg category at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said the current state of affairs in weightlifting is saddening with the federation facing the prospect of a third international ban after six lifters flunked dope tests in September.
"I feel sad when I see that after putting in 18 to 20 years to bring the sport up, it is in such a bad state. I am really very concerned about what decision the International Weightlifting Federation might take for the recent dope cases," Malleswari told 'PTI-Bhasha'.
"Had the Federation been strict on lifters who were dope-tainted, things could have been different today. We wouldn't have been facing such a humiliating situation," she added.
Malleswari said youngsters will now have to pay the price for the Federation's follies if the IWF decides to ban India.
"Lifters who had been banned in the past for doping were included in the team time and again. The federation's lenient attitude towards them will now affect the careers of our junior lifters who did so well at the Commonwealth Championships recently," she said.