By Duncan Mackay

January 23 - The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today said that they would not help the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) pay a $500,000 (£310,000) fine imposed on them after several of its top lifters, including Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games champion Shailaja Pujari (pictured), tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.

It leaves a giant question mark over whether the IWF will be able to raise the money in time to be able to compete at this year's Commonwealth Games, which open in New Delhi on October 3.

The International Weightlifting Federation, who gave the IWF the fine after six Indian lifters tested positive for drugs last year, will not allow them to compete internationally until the fine is paid in full.

The IWF had hoped that the IOA and India's Sports Ministry would make a financial contribution towards paying the fine but after a meeting today between Suresh Kalmadi, the President of the IOA, and the country's Sports Minister M.S. Gill  it was decided that they would not help.

A Sports Ministry spokesman said: "For now, we are not planning to extend any help to them."

The IOA and Sports Ministry are understood to have lost patience with the IWF, who were lucky to escape without a year's ban from international competition, which would have meant they would have missed the Commonwealth Games, especially as they had already previously been suspended by the world governing body in 2004 and 2006.

The IWF now plan to hold a meeting next month to discuss what to do next.

Sahdev Yadav, the IWF's secretary general, said:  "Such a huge amount cannot be raised in three days [to enable the Indian lifters to participate in Dhaka Games which start on January 29].

"At our meeting in Udaipur [on February 21] we will decide on whether and how to pay the money."

The IWF will also have to find another $30,000 (£18,606), the total amount of fines imposed on the six lifters by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Yadav said: "If they don’t pay from their pockets, it will become our responsibility."

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