Terror prompts tournament venue shift

Guwahati, Feb 3 : The Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation has proposed to shift the 3rd Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship scheduled to be held here from December 9 to 13, to another city in the country in the wake of the October 30 serial blasts in the state.
The official letter from the CPF general secretary, Richard Parker, to the Indian Powerlifting Federation (IPF) has cited the serial blasts on October 30 
(followed by the those on January 1 and 9 here) as well as the prevailing unrest in the state as the reasons for the move.
Parker has suggested Pune as an “acceptable” alternative venue.
Over 250 powerlifters from the 15 member nations, including England, Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Scotland, Fiji Islands, Northern Islands, South Africa and Canada, among others, besides three provisional member nations were expected to participate in the championship here.
The Indian Powerlifting Federation (IPF) general secretary, Subrata Dutta, on the other hand promised to convince the Commonwealth body about Guwahati being safe if the state government gave a written assurance. However, he apprehended that it would be a low-key affair as several countries had already expressed their reluctance to come to the city.
“I cannot say how many countries I can convince to take part,” Dutta, an Arjuna awardee, said here on Monday.
He said the Indian Powerlifting Federation was in favour of Guwahati because preparations were nearly complete and that it would have to start from scratch if the venue was changed. 
“As soon as we get an assurance from the government, we are going to write to the CPF stating that there has never been any security threat to sportspersons in Assam and that the government would ensure full security for all the participants,” Dutta said.
“The government’s assurance will be a strong endorsement for the IPF’s claims,” he added. 
“We will also cite the examples of the 33rd National Games, Asian Athletic Grand Prix and India International Badminton Championship, among others, which were held successfully here,” said Kailash Sharma, executive president of North East India Power Lifting Association, the organisers of the event. 
Ulfa had given a boycott call for the National Games in February 2007. However, the boycott call was lifted a couple of days prior to the event. 
The rebel outfit said it welcomed hosting of international sports in the state after the Assam Cricket Association appealed for peace prior to the November 2007 ODI between India and Pakistan. The All India Football Federation had proposed shifting the Federation Cup prelims from Silchar last November but the event was eventually held.