Glasgow: Admitting that Indian Weightlifting was known for doping in the recent past, national federation president Birendra Prasad Baishya on Tuesday said the spectacular show by lifters in the Commonwealth Games here would bring a change in the perception towards the sport in the country.
Basking in the glory of lifters winning 10 medals (3, 3, 4), two more than 2010 in Delhi, Baishya said that his federation has realised its motto of "winning medals with honour". Weightlifting exceeded expectations as it has turned out to be one sport which has given a large chunk of medals in the Commonwealth Games.
"I agree that in the recent past Indian weightlifting was known for doping in the country and outside. We had to pay nearly Rs 3 crore to the International Weightlifting Federation just a few days before the Delhi CWG so that we can take part in the Games. That was a really shameful experience," he said.
"But that has changed since then. For the last five years I have been the president of Indian Weightlifting Federation, there has been no case of doping and we are dope free now. We have set ourself to realise a goal of medals with honour. The country`s image is above everything. That we have realised it now," he added.
Baishya took over as IWLF president in December 2009 after the earlier executive committee resigned en masse following six dope violation in a calendar year which under international federation rules would attract a ban from participation in international tournaments for a period of up to two years and/or be imposed a fine of at least USD 500,000.
India paid the fine so that its weightlifters can take part in the 2010 Delhi CWG. He said the brilliant show of the lifters in Glasgow Commonwealth Games has showed that the Delhi performance of winning eight medals (2, 2, 4) was not due to home advantage. "We got eight medals in Delhi and now we have won 10 medals, two more in Glasgow and also one gold more. This performance showed that Delhi was not due to home adavantage. We have come to Glasgow and done even better outside home," Baishya said.
"It was due to better planning, better selection, discipline and dedicatiopn of weightlifters. It was a team effort. The lifters left India early and trained at Birmingham from June 23 before coming here and that has really helped the lifters to acclimatise with the conditions," Baishya said.
Baishya thanked the government for providing fund for training but he felt that corporate sector should now come up to sponsor lifters.
"The government has done a lot for weightlifting by providing funds for the training and I am thankful to the government for that. But I now want corporate sector to come and support the weightlifters," he said.
"Most of the weightlifters come from poor and rural background and they need sponsors to get better results. I feel weightlifters have not got sponsors from corporate sector while other sportsperson have got." Baishya also said that he would request the sports ministry to upgrade weightlifting to the priority list of the government so that it will get more fund to be used for the weightlifters.
"It is not the time to talk much about it. But once we reached Delhi after the Games, I would request the sports ministry to include weightlifting among priority sports of the government," he said. Baisya also said that his federation will continue its emphasis on spotting talent from the rural areas of the country.
"If you see the top weightlifters winning the medals here and in other international events, you will find that they belong to various states of the country not to a few pockets. We had made a plan to search for talents from rural and district level from all over the country. It is paying us
results and we will continue it.
"Weightlifting is a sport of poor people," he said.