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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Denial of entry to Commonwealth medallist in Ludhiana club triggers row

cities Updated: Oct 16, 2019 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

Ludhiana-based weightlifter Vikas Thakur, a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist and national record holder, said he was denied entry in the Ludhiana Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Club, allegedly over some internal dispute. 

Thakur, who had spent around 10 years in the club, run by District Ludhiana Weightlifting Association, before shifting to the national camp, is preparing for the Olympics qualifiers and is in the city on a 10-day holiday.

Thakur said he had gone to the club situated near Rakh Bagh on Friday to practice, but association general secretary Parvesh Chander Sharma didn’t allow him to enter the club.

“I was asked to get permission from club president Narender Sharma Kala, who is also the area councillor. It’s been four days since I have been trying to get in touch with Kala, but to no avail,” said Thakur, who is going to participate in a national weightlifting championship to be held at Kolkata in December and then compete in South Asian Games to qualify for the Olympics. 

Association general secretary Parvesh Chander Sharma, who himself is a gold medallist from Commonwealth Games 1990, said there was an internal dispute of the association wherein Thakur had sided with the opposite party, which is why it was decided not to allow him to practice here. “He has to take permission from the senior authorities if he wants to practice here,” Sharma said. 

Fellow athletes join in

Thakur, who was joined by other city-based weightlifters at Guru Nanak Stadium on Wednesday, said, “When I had bagged a silver medal in Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014, the government had announced ₹26 lakh to the club for the renovation. Where state government has given me the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award for my achievements, these members of the local association are not allowing me to practice. The district administration should remove such members from running the club,” he said. 

Another city-based weightlifter, Rahul Narang, a state-level award winner, said, “There is no professional coach in the club. It is a government building and a few members of the association are running the club for personal gains.”

Narang also alleged that national-level weightlifters including Ajay Inder Singh, Raghuvir and many more were forced to leave the club and are now in private jobs. “We appeal to the authorities to appoint a professional coach to lead the club and train budding weightlifters,” he said. 

However, calling the allegations baseless, Sharma said, “We have been running the club for over a decade and never received any grant from the government to run itfor running the club.”