After weeks of uncertainty, decks were today cleared for Indian weightlifters' participation in the Commonwealth Games with the Organising Committee releasing Rs 1.75 crore to the Indian Weightlifting Federation so that it can pay the doping fine to the international parent body.
The Sports Ministry had directed the OC to immediately release Rs 1.75 crore interest-free loan to the IWLF so that it can pay the doping fine of USD 3,75,000 to International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) before the August 31 deadline.
IWLF secretary-general Sahdev Yadav collected the cheque from the OC office and said they will try to pay the fine as soon as possible to ensure participation of the lifters. "Today I received the cheque worth 1.75 crore from the CWG Organising Committee.
It is good news for the lifters. We would try to pay the fine at the earliest, so that our weightlifters can participate in the Commonwealth Games. We are expecting lot of medals from them," Sahdev told PTI. "Besides, we will pay the USD 31,000 fine of the individual guilty lifters from our own resources," he added.
In a letter to the CWG OC, the Ministry on Tuesday had expressed unhappiness that the IOA has not taken steps to "intercede" with International Weightlifting Federation to reduce the fine or reschedule the penalty payment so that Indian weightlifters can take part in Commonwealth Games. It said the Rs 1.75 crore amount be paid against the approved budget of Rs 25 crore for development of sports under the Joint Marketing Agreement as provided under clause 261 of the Host City Contract of Commonwealth Games.
The letter also said that the loan of Rs 1.75 crore being given to IWF should not to be utilised by the IWLF for the payment of fine USD 31,000 on individual weightlifters found guilty. The IWLF was under pressure to pay the doping fine of USD 3,75,000 and an additional USD 31,000 for individual fines and 'B' sample testing charges, failing which, the Indian lifters would have been barred from taking part in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
For some time now, the IWF had asked IOA and the Ministry to give interest-free loan of around Rs one crore each to pay the fine. The Ministry had sent a letter a few days back to the IOA and CWG OC to negotiate with the international weightlifting body to reduce the fine or re-schedule the penalty payment. The Ministry said that it cannot accept a situation where Indian weightlifters would not take part in the Commonwealth Games which is to be held in the country as it is likely to result in loss of medals.