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Oz weightlifter Koum 'let down' by Australian Weightlifting Federation $5000 cash demand allegation

June 13, 2012 - Sydney

Australian weightlifter Daniel Koum has said he has been let down by the sport's governing body, which claims he ransomed Australia's Olympic hopes over a 5000 dollar cash demand.

Koum, 26, said he had spent thousands more over the years to represent his country.

The Australian weightlifting world was rocked by allegations that Koum had demanded the amount only minutes before he was due to compete in the Oceania Weightlifting Championships in Samoa last week, otherwise he would pull out.

"I'm very shocked. With past competitions, even I just went to represent Australia in the world championships and it cost me more than $10,000. I'm very disappointed," the Herald Sun quoted Koum, as saying.

Australian Weightlifting Federation boss Michael Keelan said he felt forced to comply and he and two other officials scrounged around for the cash, which was paid directly to Koum in US currency.

"He said if he didn't get that amount of money he said he would not participate in the championships. The situation, which occurred in Samoa, was he (Koum) felt like he was in the position whereby he could bargain and he asked for some money. And the thing is he asked for a considerable amount of money which is $5000," Keelan said.

However, Koum, who fell just short of the medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, rejected the claims.

Koum was one of three Cameroon weightlifters who remained in Australia to take up citizenship after the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

A formal investigation is still pending, but it is being estimated that Koum almost certainly will be dropped tonight from the Australian Olympic shadow team.


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