Weightlifters look to erase dope shame in Commonwealth Games

Weightlifting contributes a big chunk of medals to India's tally in the Commonwealth Games and this time also, the lifters are expected to repeat the show with many of them in peak form and in the top bracket among Commonwealth lifters in the past one year.
From 1990 till 2002, nearly half of India's medals have come from weightlifting as each category had three gold medals up for grabs then.

The rules changed since 2006 in Melbourne where Indian lifters contributed nine medals -- three gold, five silver and a bronze -- to the country's total of 49 (22 gold, 17 silver and 10 bronze).

In 1990, weightlifters contributed a whopping 24 medals, including 12 gold out of India's total tally of 32. Only one gold came outside weightlifting in that Games.

The biggest haul of medals came in 2002 Manchester Games where Indian weightlifters won 27 -- 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze out of the country's overall tally of 69, including 22 gold.

Commonwealth Games is one multi-sport event in which Indian weightlifters have always done well in the absence of top countries such as China, Central Asian countries, South Korea, Turkey and Russia.

India is considered one of the weightlifting powerhouses in the Commonwealth, having won 93 medals, including 33 gold since 1966 when they took part for the first time. Only Australia with 145 medals and England with 105 are ahead of India in the number of medals won in the Commonwealth Games' history.

The Indian weightlifters' build-up to the Delhi Games was, however, not without drama as the Federation had to borrow Rs 1.75 crore from the CWG OC to pay the last two installments of a hefty dope fine before the August 31 deadline.

That saved Indian weightlifters the ignominy of being barred from participating in Games being held at home.

International Weightlifting Federation had imposed a hefty fine of USD five lakh fine on the national body after six lifters flunked dope tests conducted by WADA last year.

Barely days after paying the fine, Manchester Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sanamacha Chanu (53kg) brought back doping into the limelight in the country's dirtiest sport by failing a NADA test for banned stimulant methylehexameamine in the samples taken last month during the selection trials here.

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