Gill asks Kalmadi to clear doping mess in 'lifting

Sports minister lashes out at IWF, says they owe India an apology

MS Gill

“Gill called Kalmadi this morning and discussed the doping issue. The Minister told Kalmadi to clear the mess Indian weightlifting finds itself in,” sports ministry sources told PTI.

Earlier, Gill lashed out at the Indian Weightlifting Federation, saying IWF owed an explanation and an apology to the country for the dope scandals that may invite a third international ban.

In a strongly worded speech he delivered at the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan Sports Meet, Gill said IWF officials need to explain how six lifters returned positive for banned substances in WADA tests.

“Recently, a number of weightlifters tested positive for banned substances. That has brought shame to the country and IWF is facing international punishment. The senior IWF officials owe an explanation to the country and express regret for the dope offence by the lifters,” Gill said.

“They (the weightlifting officials) should take moral responsibility and do whatever to eliminate doping from weightlifting,” he added. Six lifters returned positive for banned substances in the out-of-competition tests conducted by WADA in September in Pune and India is almost certain to be banned in the executive committee meeting of the International Weightlifting Federation in Korea on Wednesday.

If a ban of more than a year is imposed, India will have to face the ignominy of being barred from fielding its lifters in the October 3 to 14, 2010 Commonwealth Games here. On the possibility of Indian lifters missing the Commonwealth Games, Gill said the country would have to suffer for the wrongs done by some lifters.

“What can we do? If there is to be a ban so be it. The only thing is because of the lifters taking drugs, the country will have to suffer,” he said.

Gill said dope cheats would be dealt with sternly and his ministry would take tough action. “The world bodies have taken strong resolve to eliminate this menace and give stern punishment to drug offenders. We fully stand by this.

“I want medals from our athletes in Olympics and world events. But I want medals won with honour. ‘Mujhe benami ka medal nahin chahiye’ (I don’t want medal won by disgrace),” Gill said.

Meanwhile, having already missed the first deadline, Gill asked Hockey India not to let the country down by failing to hold elections by the February date set by the international federation. “HI could not hold elections by November 20 and FIH has extended the deadline till February next year. I have accepted that and HI must hold elections by that time. For this HI should first ensure the formation of a single body for men and women in all states,” he said.

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