Aussie weightlifter denies demanding $5000 to attend Samoa meet

Austrailian weightlifting has been rocked by allegations that an athlete held his team's Olympic hopes to ransom by demanding - and receiving - $5000 cash before competing at a qualifying event.

Australian Weightlifting Federation chief Michael Keelan claimed Daniel Koum, 26, asked for the money at the Oceania Weightlifting Championships in Samoa last week.

"We were absolutely shocked and stunned. It was just unbelievable," Keelan told AFP, adding that this was the first time it had happened to him in more than 40 years in the sport.

"He said if he didn't get that amount of money he said he would not participate in the championships."

Had any Australian male athlete failed to compete in Samoa it would have made it impossible for the team to finish among the top five nations, meaning Australia would have been unable to send a male lifter to the London Olympics.

"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," Keelan charged.

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