Delhi, Haryana and Punjab weightlifting units are set to be suspended by the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) for one year in the aftermath of 21 lifters failing dope tests, IWLF secretary Chandrahas Rai said if two or more athletes from a state test positive in a 12-month period in tests conducted by the IWLF or National Anti-Doping Agency, then the federation will be suspended for a year.
In results made public last week, the NADA caught 21 weightlifters for using banned substances in five different national championships. They have been provisionally suspended by the IWLF pending the results of their ‘B’ sample tests. If found guilty, then the weightlifters face a four-year ban as per the new guidelines laid down by the World Anti Doping Agency.
Majority of the 21 athletes belonged to Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. Consequently, the three states will not be allowed to send entries for national-level weightlifting tournaments till the end of their ban. The states and weightlifters will also be imposed with Rs 50,000 fine each. The lifters will also have to pay Rs 5,500 to get their B samples tested. “We have formed some strict rules to curb doping. Services and Railways have served similar bans and these states will be no exception,” Rai said.
The coaches of the lifters who have tested positive will also be suspended for two years. “We will wait for the results of the B sample tests before finalising their punishments. We will try to work out a solution where innocent lifters from these states are not affected,” Rai added.
Indian weightlifting has struggled to curb doping incidents and has been suspended twice in the last 10 years by the international federation. However, the number seemed to have reduced in the last few years, a fact asserted from India’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games performance where none of the 14 medal winners tested positive.
This incident, however, has proven that the menace continues to run deep in the system, especially considering that majority of the 21 offenders are juniors.