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I want to change the sport’s image,says Malleswari

Karnam Malleswari,the lone Indian woman to boast of an Olympic medal,has achieved another first by becoming one of the...

Written by Shailendra Awasthi | Mumbai |
December 29, 2009 12:20:50 am

Karnam Malleswari,the lone Indian woman to boast of an Olympic medal,has achieved another first by becoming one of the vice presidents of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) after the elections on Sunday.

The iron woman sees her appointment as a new challenge,and is confident of making the most of it. “I’m very keen to bring about a change to the image of the game. But a lot will depend on how much co-operation and support I get from the federation’s top brass,” the Sydney Olympics bronze medallist told The Indian Express.

Malleswari has often been critical of the federation’s functioning in the past,even accusing it of adopting a lenient approach towards dope offenders. Now,armed with executive powers,she plans to come down heavily on offenders. “The federation should strip the cheats of all the facilities they enjoy in the country,and their medals and awards. Life bans should be given to repeat offenders,” said Malleswari.

Changing attitudes

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The 34-year-old general manager with the Food Corporation of India says the biggest challenge for the IWF is to change the attitude of lifters. “Many past offenders were spared by earlier officials for monetary and other considerations. This has spoiled the thinking of upcoming players,with most of them believing they too can get away with anything,” she said.

“I will try to impress upon the federation to appoint proper coaches and doctors who can bring about a change in the players’ mindsets and help them stay away from drugs,besides getting personally involved with players’ affairs,” said Malleswari.

She is still hopeful that India will be able to participate in the Commonwealth Games next year despite the International Weightlifting Federation’s warning of a severe punishment after repeated drug offences. “I think the image of Indian weightlifting is not that bad as the world governing body knows that till 2000,not many offences were registered. The numbers have increased only in the last few years,and I’m sure this will help allow us to participate in the 2010 Games,” she said.

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First published on: 29-12-2009 at 12:20:50 am

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