January 22 - India's weightlifting team will be allowed to compete at this year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi after the Indian Weightlifting Federation escaped another ban following a series of positive drugs tests involving its lifters, including Shailaja Pujari (pictured), and were instead fined $500,000 (£310,000).

The Indian Federation was facing a ban as six of its lifters had failed drugs tests conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the country's own anti-doping agency last September.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) could have suspended India for up to a year again, as they had done in 2004 and 2006 following similar doping violations among its lifters.

But the fact that Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games, which are due to open on October 3, probably saved them.

Sahdev Yadav, Indian Weightlifting Federation general secretary, said: "We are relieved that at least we have not been banned and once we pay the fine our team can participate in the Commonwealth Games in October."

But Yadav is unhappy that it has taken the IWF so long to inform them of the sanction.

He said: "The decision was taken on November 21, 2009 but we were informed today.

"I feel the international body could have informed us earlier. [$500,000] is a huge sum of money which can't be paid so easily."

Yadav also revealed they will ask the international body to either reduce the penalty or allow them to pay it in installments.

He said: "We would request the international body to reduce the amount or allow us to pay the fine in installments in two-three years.

"We are also in talks with the IOA (indian Olympic Association) and Sport Ministry in this regard."

Yadav also said that India now cannot participate in the South Asian Games in Dhaka.

He said: "The six-member Indian team was supposed to leave on January 27 for Dhaka but now they won't be travelling.

"We have to pay the fine first and only after that India can participate in any international tournament."

The Indian Weightlifting Federation officials had resigned en masse after six lifters tested positive for banned substances at the Pune national camp before the World Championships in China last year. 

The IWF has now imposed a series of disciplinary measures on a number of lifters as a result of the scandal, including banning Pujari, the 2002 Commonwealth Games 75kg gold medallist, for life as it was her second doping offence, following one in 2006.

But Vicky Butta, a 56kg silver winner in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, has escaped a life suspension even though it was her second offence in three years.

She has been banned for four years along with Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Singh, Sunita Rani and A Vijayadevi.

They have also all been fined $5,000 (£3,100) each.

Related stories
November 2009:
 Indian Weightlifting Federation step down after doping scandals
November 2009: Angry Gill demands apology from weightlifters over doping scandal
September 2009:Indian weightlifters facing ban from New Delhi Commonwealth Games