Not many podiums, but lifters bury ghosts of doping
There is not much to show in terms of stellar performances but the fact that Indian weightlifters managed to bury the ghost of doping, which has haunted them for long, was no less an achievement in what can easily be considered a good year for the sport.
New Delhi: There is not much to show in terms of stellar performances but the fact that Indian weightlifters managed to bury the ghost of doping, which has haunted them for long, was no less an achievement in what can easily be considered a good year for the sport.
Along with the new-found cleaner image, something the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had been searching for years, came a reasonable amount of success on the mat as well, with the country's lifters bagging as many as 12 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this year.
Indian lifters exceeded expectations at the quadrennial event, winning three gold, four silver and five bronze, an improvement of four medals from the 2010 Delhi edition.
They, however, failed to replicate their CWG success at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, coming up with a listless performance.
With just over a month's gap between the CWG and Asian Games, the 10-member team produced a below-par performance at Incheon.
Having failed to recover from the CWG's gruelling competition, the Indians completely came a cropper against the lifters from countries like China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan -- all of whom are considered strong in weightlifting.
But once again the highlight for the Indians was that none tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.
"This is the biggest success for us -- that none of our lifters tested positive. We have finally managed to come out of the shadow of doping that had been haunting us for quite some time now," Indian women's team coach Hansa Sharma said.
"Only two out of our five girls who won medals at the CWG were tested. The gold and silver medallists (Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu) were tested on first day but after that there were no tests conducted. None of the Indians were called for random tests as well.
"In men's category also, only two were tested out of seven medallists. This shows that India carried a cleaner image into the Games this time around. The organisers knew that the Indians have come out of the drug menace," she had said.