Daniel Koum is a member of the Australian weightlifting team. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images
- Backroom deal made to ensure an Australian place
- Koum allegedly asked for more money during warm-up*
- Australia can now send a weightlifter to London
A MEMBER of the Olympic weightlifting team is at the centre of a controversy today after allegedly asking for a $5000 payment to lift 250kgs and enable Australia to send a weightlifter to the London Olympics.
Daniel Koum, 26, was initially offered a $1000 incentive to lift 250kgs at the Oceania Weightlifting Championships in Samoa last week, the ABC reported.
The*chief executive of the Australian Weightlifting Federation, Michael Keelan, made the offer to ensure an Australian qualified for the London Olympics, but said it was made personally and not on behalf of the federation.
Mr Keenan said he*was "flabbergasted" when shortly before the qualifying lift Koum demanded a bigger payment. Keenan alleged that Koum said he would not compete without the bigger payment but Koum denied such a deal took place.
"I mean, you think that everyone who is representing Australia does so with pride and with commitment," Keenan told the ABC.
"I felt sickened by what took place. I thought it was a despicable act and I still feel that way."
If Koum had failed to accrue points in his weight division the entire Australian team would finish too far down the ladder to get a place for a weightlifter to compete in London. By lifting 250kgs Koum effectively gained a position for another, as yet undecided, team mate to compete.
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