Sahdev Yadav, head of the Indian Weightlifting Federation, criticised Punam Yadav on Tuesday for competing despite "not being totally fit" following her performance at the Commonwealth Games. Punam failed all three of her tries in a clean and jerk, and thus was eliminated from women's 76kg division.
The current CWG champion in the 69kg division, though, was in contention for the silver medal after snatch, where she successfully lifted 98kg on her third try. The head of the national federation claimed that the lifter participated while suffering from a knee problem, clearly upset with her performance.
"Ek medal haath se chhut gayi -- clearly she dropped one medal from the weightlifting arena," Yadav told PTI.
"That's why initially we had held back her name. But the athlete claimed she was fit and showed a fitness certificate issued by a doctor. There's no way we could withhold her name as she joined the team late. If you notice her lifts closely, she was not giving her best force while lifting the barbell from clean to jerk. The knee has to bend to get that full force.
"But in her case, it was missing. It's clear that she's not 100 per cent and we lost out on a medal," Yadav claimed.
Punam responded, with tears in her eyes, that she was physically fit. Haanji, haanji -- bilkul fit thi (Of course, I was fully fit). Niggles are part and parcel of a lifter's life and I was on course. It happens, my sheer bad luck," she said.
The 27-year-old was in second place and aiming for a third medal at the CWG after lifting 98 kg on her second try. The Varanasi lifter eventually got a clean lift, but she dropped it before the three judges gave the all-clear. She had failed to lift 116 kg in her first two tries of the clean and jerk.
Punam, who won a gold medal in the 69 kg division at Gold Coast 2018, claimed after her lift was scored as "zero" by the three judges, "Usne smile kiya and main throw kar diya (One of the judges smiled and I dropped it without seeing the light)."
Out of 10 weight categories, India has so far won seven medals, including three gold. The nation has more gold medals (2-1-4) than Canada (2-1-4) in the weightlifting medal rankings.