Indian weightlifters forced to pay

India's weightlifters have been told they can take part in the forthcoming Asian Games in Doha, but only if their federation pays a fine of $50,000 first.

    It will cost them if India wants to lift in Doha

    India is banned from all weightlifting competitions until March next year after four positive dope tests during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne earlier this year.

    But the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) now says it is willing to remove the ban if India comes up with the money.

    "India shall pay the fine of $50,000 and remain suspended from membership of the IWF only until the whole amount of the fine is duly paid to the IWF," the federation said in a statement.

    "The IWF executive board declares that the fine shall be used for the purpose of anti-doping activities."

    The head of Indian weightlifting, H J Dora, welcomed the IWF decision and said he was making efforts to raise the money.

    "We don't have that kind of money, but we will tap all resources to see if $50,000 can be arranged," he said.

    Iran ban

    "We will try our best, otherwise innocent athletes will continue to suffer through no fault of their own."

    Two male Indian weightlifters, Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh, tested positive during the Commonwealth Games. Two women, Prameelavalli Bodari and Shailaja Pujari, failed pre-Games tests and were banned by India from making the trip to Australia.

    India's own weightlifting federation banned all four for life.

    Dora said he was not concerned about the short time the team has to prepare for the Asian Games beginning in Doha on December 1.

    "Let us raise the money first," he said. "We can send a young team and look ahead to the Beijing Olympics in 2008."

    The inclusion of India would be a boost for a weightlifting competition that will be lacking Iran after nine out of 11 of its team tested positive for doping.

    The ban will include the world and Olympic champion, Hossein Rezazadeh, despite him being one of the two athletes to test negative.

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