IOA to conduct fresh elections for IWF

November 17th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Tuesday said fresh elections will be held for the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) after its executive board stepped down taking “moral responsibility” for the series of doping violations.
The International Weightlifting Federation’s executive board will meet in Korea Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing World Championships to hear the cases of six Indian lifters returning positive in out-of-competition tests by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said Wednesday the International Weightlifting Federation has instructed the association to “withdraw the leadership of IWF and conduct fresh election.”

“IOA will take a final decision on the matter after the meeting in Korea,” Kalmadi said.

“The International Weightlifting Federation president wrote to the IOA about the doping violations committed by Indian weightlifters in the past few weeks and also mentioned that it was not the first time that our lifters tested positive,” Kalmadi said.

The legal counsel for the international organisation Monika Ungar said: “The executive board will hold its meeting tomorrow and a decision regarding the Indian federation will be taken there.”

Indian Weightlifting Federation chief Harbhajan Singh said the executive council members decided to resign en masse in the interest of the sport.

“The executive committee met Tuesday. Not everyone favoured the extreme step of resignation of the entire board and opinions were divided. We discussed it threadbare and came to the conclusion that this could be the only way to escape a harsher penalty from the IOA and the international federation,” Harbhajan told IANS.

“In any case, IOA had constituted a panel and you never know they could have asked us to resign. We thought it would be better if we take the moral responsibility instead of being forced to step down.”

“Our lifters have done well in recent tournaments. We won so many medals in the Commonwealth Championships, but at the same time it is also true that we have come under the scanner because some of our lifters tested positive. We do not want to be banned and not participate in the Delhi Commonwealth Games where our lifters have good chances of winning a rich haul of medals.”

Under international rules, three or more violations in one calendar year may result in the “national federation being banned from participation in international tournaments for a period of up to two years and/or be imposed a fine of at least $50,000.”

The IWF has twice been banned in 2004 and 2006 because of more than three or more doping violations in a calendar year.

“The international body will hear our case tomorrow and hopefully they will take a lenient view.”

IOA sources said that the association might set up an ad-hoc committee for the time being until the election could be held.

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