With stricter measures to curb doping, the National weightlifting championship begins at the Khudiram Anusilan Kendra here on Monday.
The positive test of at least 16 weightlifters — mostly from outside the National camp — at the last edition in Visakhapatnam was a major embarrassment for the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF).
For this edition, the IWLF has formulated a ‘whereabouts’ rule — modelled on the practice followed by various anti-doping agencies and international federations — to avoid recurrence of such an episode.
“The lifters have to provide information as to where and when they are training, under whom they are training in the last three months. We send these details to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Those who do not provide the details cannot take part in the National championships,” said IWLF secretary Sahdev Yadav.
Some of the lifters who tested positive at Visakhapatnam had claimed they were not aware of a substance, SARM, being on the 2019 prohibited list. Asked about their claim, Yadav said, “We hold seminars. Everything is available on websites and everyone is aware of the changes.”
On the competition front, the event will feature Olympic aspirants, including former World champion S. Mirabai Chanu (49kg) and former Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg).
“All top lifters, including Mirabai, Jeremy, Achinta Sheuli and Rakhi Halder, will compete to see how their training is progressing. Those who have a serious chance at the Olympics are training at 90 per cent now. The idea is to peak at the right time,” said chief National coach Vijay Sharma.
Sharma said Mirabai, who is a medal contender in the Olympics, had done a total of 201kg and would like to improve her performance in the coming months.
The return of Railways’ Sanjita Chanu, who tested positive in the 2017 World championships, in women’s 49kg is another highlight. She became eligible to compete after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) revoked her provisional suspension in January last year.