Toua in line for gold after Indian fails doping test

Sports

THE general secretary of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation says it will be “sensational” if Papua New Guinea’s Dika Toua is awarded another Commonwealth Games gold medal but lamented the athlete has been denied her moment on the podium.
Toua originally finished second in the women’s 53kg division on the Gold Coast, behind the gold medal winner Sanjita Chanu Khumukcham from India.
But the International Weightlifting Federation confirmed last week the 24-year-old Khumukcham returned a positive test for testosterone at last year’s World Championships and had been provisionally suspended.
Her coach, Oceania Weightlifting boss Paul Coffa said it was a real concern that lifters are still being found guilty of doping.
“Contrary to the Oceania region where we haven’t had anything at all for 11 years,” Coffa said.
“We’ve got a zero tolerance in the Oceania region — we’re the only continent clean and we’re very proud of that.”
Coffa, who is also the general secretary of the Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation, said if Khumukcham’s B sample is also positive she will have her gold medal taken away and be banned from competing for two years.
“Very seldom you get a B sample different than the A sample. It’s the same urine sample so if it is positive it is positive in the B sample also,” he said.
“Unfortunately they have got to go through the proper process and that’s what the bad thing is, you’ve just got to wait.”
“The only thing I regret is it’s not the same (as) winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games: the euphoria, the crowd and the television and it’s different,” he reflected.
“It’s different than getting a medal by post. It doesn’t mean anything. Although on paper she’s a gold medallist but it takes everything away from the lifter, from the athlete — whether it’s weightlifting or whatever.”
It’s a case of deja vu for Dika Toua, who won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the same manner.
She originally won silver on the day but was upgraded to gold the following month after Nigeria’s Chika Amalaha was found guilty of doping.
“It’s funny that it’s the same thing happened, it’s incredible. The same person twice — that’s unthinkable,” said Coffa.
“It doesn’t happen too often I can tell you but it happened for Dika four years ago and it was repeated again four years later. It shows you that it pays to be clean and you keep a good record and eventually gold medals will defeat doping.”
Coffa, who has coached lifters to over 100 Commonwealth Games medals, said it could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a number of months until the results of the B sample are confirmed.
The veteran coach said Toua and fellow Gold Coast medallists Morea Baru and Steven Kari would return to the Oceania Weightlifting Institute shortly to begin preparations for the Oceania Championships in Noumea at the end of June.
“I spoke to her the other day — it’s not the same,” he said.
“She feels for it, she will be a gold medallist, it will be recorded as Papua New Guinea a great performance and the Oceania region winning seven gold but it’s not the same like Steven Kari did at the Games.”
“It brought the house down, it brought television, it was a different story but we’ve got to put up with it and it’s better than a silver medal for sure. If she gets that gold it will be sensational.”
If the positive test is upheld than the additional gold medal improve PNG’s place on the medal tally from the Gold Coast Games to equal 18th with Trinidad and Tobago with two golds and a silver — from their current 22nd spot.
Toua also stands to be given K100,000 (for earning the gold medal) from the state as part of its incentive programme for Team PNG athletes; she was originally in line to receive K50,000. – RNZ

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