India’s weightlifting federation is normally weighed down by doping violations by its lifters. This time, it is overage that has the federation officials in a bind.
Medical examination conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has revealed all but one of the seven female lifters chosen in the youth category (under-18) for the Commonwealth Junior and Youth Weightlifting championships beginning on December 11 at Penang, Malaysia are overage.
The federation’s hopes to dominate that particular category have been crushed after its lifters, for the first time, were caught for being overage. Now, only one of the women lifters will compete in the youth division – 53 kg lifter Pramila Krisani of Orissa.
The WFI was supposed to field 14 lifters each in the youth and junior (under-20) categories in the weeklong competition before the medical centre of SAI, Bangalore exposed the age violations.
Surprisingly, the federation is not complaining despite the date of birth certificates and passports showing that the lifters are below 18 years.
Instead of probing the overage issue further, WFI, it seems, has buried it by coolly moving at least three of those caught – Sanjeet Chanu (48 kg), Laxmi Devi (58kg) and Santoshi (53kg), to the junior category!
When contacted WFI secretary general Sahdev Yadav, confirmed the development. “Medical experts didn’t go by the passport details as well as the date of birth certificate and have chucked the players out,” he told Hindustan Times. But the federation will simply accept the test results. “There are no plans to challenge the medical report,” he said.
“None of the players have come to us saying they will challenge the medical report.”
The federation says it would be tedious to try and prove the players were indeed eligible to take part in the youth category, although Yadav said it was normal practice to accept the date of birth certificate submitted by the lifter.
There were as many as 60 lifters including 30 in the women category for the preliminary trials. The lifters were pruned down to 20 in the junior and youth groups respectively during a month-long camp.