November 16 - India's Sports Minister M.S. Gill (pictured) has demanded an explanation and a public apology from the country's weightlifting federation for another doping scandal that could result in the host nation not having any lifters competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Gill said the positive tests for six weightlifters in out-of-competition tests in September could result in another international ban for the national federation and had "brought shame to the country."


He said: "The senior IWF (Indian Weightlifting Federation) officials owe an explanation to the country and express regret for the dope offence by the lifters.


"They should take moral responsibility and do whatever to eliminate doping from weightlifting.


"They have brought shame to the country."


Gill has contact Suresh Kalmadi, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), to help stamp-out the problem.


A spokesman for the Sports Ministry said: "Gill called Kalmadi this morning and discussed the doping issue.


"The Minister told Kalmadi to clear the mess Indian weightlifting finds itself in."


The International Weightlifting Federation will meet at the World Championships this week to determine a sanction for India


Countries face up to a four-year ban if three or more lifters return positive for banned substances in a calendar year.


Even if India is only banned from international competition for a year, it would rule them out of weightlifting events at the Commonwealth Games, which open in New Delhi on October 3, 2010.


Gill said: "If there is to be a ban so be it.


"The only thing is because of the lifters taking drugs, the country will have to suffer."


The Indian weightlifting team was barred from competing at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha after four competitors tested positive within a 12-month period.


Monika Devi, India's only weightlifter selected for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was withdrawn after an alleged doping offense.


Devi claimed she was framed by officials and the Government ordered an investigation.



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