Damon Kelly ‘sickened’ over cash demand by team-mate to lift for London Olympics
Sydney : Australian Commonwealth Games gold medalist Damon Kelly, a teammate of a Melbourne weightlifter who is alleged to have demanded cash to ensure Australia`s boxing presence at the London Olympic, has said he felt “physically sick” when he was informed of the alleged incident by coaches.
Daniel Koum, 26, sparked controversy after demanding 5000-dollars to lift 250kgs, to ensure Australia could send a weightlifter to the London Olympics.
Kelly, a Brisbane superheavyweight and a frontrunner for the sole Olympic place on offer to Australia`s men`s team, said he was completely stunned when informed about the alleged plot during last week`s Oceania championships in Samoa.
“I actually felt physically sick in the gut. It was a complete shock that somebody apparently wanted to do that. I`ve never heard of it before in weightlifting, at all,” Kelly said.
The chief executive of the Australian Weightlifting Federation, Michael Keelan, made the offer to ensure an Australian qualified for the London Olympics, but said it was made personally and not on behalf of the federation.
Keenan said he was "flabbergasted" when shortly before the qualifying lift Koum demanded a bigger payment and alleged that Koum said he would not compete without the bigger payment.
“I mean, you think that everyone who is representing Australia does so with pride and with commitment. I felt sickened by what took place. I thought it was a despicable act and I still feel that way,” Keenan said.
Kelly leads the race to London and could lock down his place in the final qualification event in Brisbane on Saturday, the day before an Australian Weightlifting Federation meeting where the alleged incident will be discussed.
Koum may still lift in Brisbane this weekend.