NEW DELHI: India's weightlifters have been banned from international competitions till March next year for dope offences, forcing them out of the Asian Games in December, an Indian official said on Saturday.
The year-long suspension allayed Indian fears that the team could also be banned from the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The year-long ban, effective from March 2006 when the Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne, was communicated to Indian officials by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) this week.
"I can confirm that the IWF have banned us for a year because four of our lifters tested positive this year," Indian weightlifting official H J Dora said here.
"The ban will be effective since the Commonwealth Games because that was the period when the lifters tested positive."
Two male lifters Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh tested positive during the Games, while two women, Prameelavalli Bodari and Shailaja Pujari, failed pre-Games tests and were banned by India from making the trip to Australia.
All four have already been banned for life by the Indian weightlifting federation. The IWF had announced India's suspension in March but waited till this week to determine the length of the ban.
The Asian Games will be held in Doha from December 1-15.