Bizarre it may sound, but Indian officials on Thursday claimed the four weightlifters disqualified from the Nanjing Youth Asian Games were allowed to take part in their respective events and only their results were not considered for medals.
A top Indian Weightlifting Federation official said the four lifters -- Chandrika Tarafdar (women's 48kg), Jyoti Mal (women's 53kg), Akshay Bhagwan (men's 62kg) and Manpreet Kaur (women's 63kg) -- even received certificates of participation.
"The four lifters who were disqualified took part in their events and lifted weights but their results were not considered for medals. It's strange but that was the case," the official said.
In the result sheet, the weights they lifted were not entered and, instead, it's written DSQ.
Participants in athletics and weightlifting were required to be born in 1997 or later to take part in the Asian Youth Games while in other disciplines those born in 1996 can also take part. All the four Indian weightlifters are 1996-born.
Asian Weightlifting Federation secretary-general Ali Moradi was also quoted as saying by Chinese official news agency Xinhua as saying that the Indians took part but were not considered for medals.
"India sent many weightlifters to the organising committee and also accepted the accreditation card and finally they entried (entered). Totally, 17-year-old athletes can (take) part in the Games. But our sport is for under 17 years old," Moradi said.
"According to this, our executive board don't allow them to take medal. It means they can (take) part but be disqualified for the medal," he added.
The local organising committee issued a statement that only under-17 weightlifters were allowed to take part in the Asian Youth Games so that these same lifters could participate in next year's Youth Olympics to be held in Nanjing.
"Weightlifting decided the age limit so that all athletes competing officially at the AYG (Asian Youth Games) would be able to compete next year in the 2nd Youth Olympic Games, which will be in Nanjing in August 2014 and benefit from their experience at the AYG," the statement said.
The local organising committee said that it will not comment further on how the Indian weightlifters were disqualified in the AYG and that the matter will be treated as closed.
"No statement on reports about the disqualification of more than 20 over-age AOI athletes from the 2nd Asian Youth Games, Nanjing 2013 will be issued by the organising committee of the Games," the official website of the Nanjing Youth Asian Games said.
"The matter is reportedly being treated as closed," it added.
Indian Weightlifting Federation president Birendra Prasad Baisya said the four lifters were given accreditation and the (overage) issue was not raised even at the team mangers' meeting a day prior to the beginning of the weightlifting competition.
"We sent the entries two months back and our four weightlifters who were disqualified later were given proper accreditation. We were not told about this issue on the team managers' meeting a day prior to the competition," he said.
"We were told about their disqualification when the competition started," he added.
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