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SBD Global/June 14, 2012/Olympics

Australian Weightlifter Accused Of Asking For Cash To Compete

Australian Weightlifting Federation CEO Michael Keelan accused weightlifter Daniel Koum of demanding $5,000 to compete at an Olympic qualifying event, according to Nick Mulvenney of REUTERS. Keelan said that the incident occurred at the Oceania championships in Samoa last week, where the Australian men's team needed a high finish to qualify for the London Games. Cameroon-born Koum said, "I'm very shocked. I've always been competing. I've put all my financial money to represent this country and they're accusing me of [asking for] $5,000?" (REUTERS, 6/13). In Sydney, the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD's Phil Lutton reported that Koum "could face extortion charges" if the accusation is proven. Specialist sports lawyer Tim Fuller said that even though the alleged incident took place in Samoa, Koum could still face extortion charges. Fuller said, "If it is true, the elements of extortion have essentially been made out. I think it would be unprecedented in Australian sporting history." The Australian Olympic Committee investigation will be headed by Dir of Sport Fiona de Jong. The AWF "is expected" to hand the AOC a report Friday (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/14). THE AUSTRALIAN's Peter Kogoy reported that Koum's hopes of competing at the London Games "are in tatters." Koum faces "being dropped" from the training squad for "allegedly soliciting" $5,000. Koum, "it is understood," will be "delisted from the Olympic shadow squad" Friday. Koum did not return calls from THE AUSTRALIAN to his mobile phone (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/14).
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