The selection trials for the Indian weightlifting team concluded in the Capital on Sunday. They were held at the newly opened weightlifting hall that is part of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex.
For once, there were no problems with parking, security or access, a positive sign given this is the penultimate test event before the Commonwealth Games begin in October.
The women's team spoke to the media, as did national coach, Harnam Singh. In response to two major issues raised by HT, the lifters said they were hopeful.
First, the Weightlifting Federation of India has asked the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India for a loan of US dollars 375,000 to pay a fine that will allow them to enter international competition. Though the players were still to get an official word, they were confident that the loan would come through, allowing them to compete at the Games.
Top woman lifter Monica Devi also spoke about the daily allowance for food and nutrition supplements not being enough. “Equipment and things like food supplements are not enough if you want to compete at the Olympic level. Still, what has been provided by the government is manageable,” she said.
Monica also admitted that winning at the Games was important, especially after she was excluded from the Beijing Olympics squad at the last minute, for failing a dope test.
“That (doping) controversy was the most difficult period of my career. Had it not been for the support of my family, I wouldn't have made a comeback. I want to prove that I can bring laurels for the country,” she said.
Coach Harnam Singh too was upbeat. “We are expecting 15 medals in the Games that means each lifter will get a medal --- eight for the men and seven for the women,” he said.