Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Birendra P. Baishya elected as Indian Weightlifting Federation chief

Member of Parliament and IOA North East Commission Chairman Birendra Prasad Baishya was elected unanimously as the Indian Weightlifting Federation president at its General Body Meeting on Sunday.

The election was necessitated after the earlier executive committee under president Harbhajan Singh resigned en masse under pressure from the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Minister M S Gill following dope flunk by six lifters.

"Mr Baishya was elected unanimously. All the 33 members units, including the affiliates like the Services, were present," a release from the IWF said.

Treasurer in the earlier executive committee Sahadev Yadav was elected secretary. SC Sharma from Delhi was made the new treasurer.

India's lone woman Olympic medalist Karnam Malleswari made her debut into weightlifting administration by being elected as one of the vice-presidents. KC Baba, an MP from Uttarakhand, was also elected as vice president.

The election was conducted in the presence of IOA observer Mukesh Kumar, secretary of Judo Federation of India.

Baishya, a Union Minister during the Prime Ministership of Inder Kumar Gujral, said his first and foremost task would be to clean up the dope menace which has seen India being banned twice in the past and facing another now after six lifters were found positive in an out-of-competition WADA dope tests in September in Pune.

"I want to cleanse the system wholesale. The IWF, under my regime, will function as a transparent unit and all members have been strictly told to adhere to the norms and be vigilant. No dope-tainted lifter will be tolerated," Baishya said.

Under International Weightlifting Federation rules, if four or more lifters flunked dope tests in a calendar year the country could be banned for a maximum of four years.

A ban of more than one year would result in India facing the ignominy of it being unable to field its lifters in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The international federation kept a decision on India's case pending in its executive board meeting at Goyang City in Korea.