Monika seals Beijing berth
Source: The Sangai Express / PTI

New Delhi, July 16: Weightlifter Laishram Monika Devi of manipur was today unanimously chosen ahead of Shailaja Pujari to represent the country in the Beijing Olympic Games after a selection trial in Bangalore, bringing to an end a selection controversy and allegations of bribery. Monika, who won a silver and two bronze in the Asian Championship in Japan in April-May to help book the lone berth for India, will compete in the 69kg category while Shailaja (75kg) would be the reserve lifter.

"Monika was chosen for the Olympics by an unanimous decision of the Selection Committee.

I am happy that everything went off smoothly during the trials," Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Harbhajan Singh told PTI from Bangalore.

"Dev Dutt Sharma will accompany Monika as coach in Beijing," he added.

Monika and Shailaja were shortlisted for the final selection after an earlier trial in Pune on June 29 was followed by allegations of bribery on IWF General Secretary BR Gulati to select Shailaja.

Gulati had rubbished the allegations as "baseless".

Shailaja was also alleged to have used kneeguards, which were not permitted under IWF rules, in the Pune trial.

This led to the Sports Ministry ordering probe into the bribery scandal and asking to cancel the trials besides directing to shift the trial venue from Pune to NIS, Patiala.

IWF stuck to its guns on the repeat selection trials though it shifted the venue of trial to SAI Centre, Bangalore.

Sharma's selection as coach was also against Ministry directive that a woman lifter should accompany a woman lifter in Beijing.

Our Sports Reporter adds: L Monika Devi, who currently weighs 68.750 kgs had undergone dope tests for 27 times in her career and came out clean.

She Head Constable in the CRPF, New Delhi.

A product of SAI, Imphal Centre Monika Devi began her career under the guidance of coach (SAI) A Ranjan Singh.