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Australian weightlifter in ransom claim
16:30 AEST Wed Jun 13 2012
Daniel Koum is accused of holding weightlifting officials to ransom. (Getty)
Daniel Koum is accused of holding weightlifting officials to ransom. (Getty)

An Australian weightlifter is believed to be under investigation amid reports he held his federation to ransom at a crucial Olympic trial.

Cameroon-born Daniel Koum, who became an Australian citizen in 2008, is accused of demanding $5000 cash to compete at last week's Oceania Weightlifting Championships.

His withdrawal would have prevented any Australian male weightlifter competing at the London Olympics, as Australia had to finish in the top five of the event to earn one place at the Games.

The Australian team eventually won by six points, with Australia's Olympic representative to be decided at a qualifying event in Brisbane this weekend.

While Koum has denied the allegations, weightlifting chiefs are now probing the ransom claim, which is alleged to have occurred just 40 minutes before Koum was to go on stage.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, he had earlier agreed to a reward of $1000 if he lifted 250kg in his 62kg weight division, but changed his mind and demanded the $5000 sum on the eve of his event.

The Australian Olympic Committee released a statement this afternoon saying:

"The AOC is working with the Australian Weightlifting Federation (AWF) to investigate the matter.

"The AOC Director of Sport, Fiona de Jong, spoke with the President and CEO of the AWF in a telephone hook up this afternoon.

"The AWF Board is expected to consider the incident this evening and report back to Fiona by Friday.

"The AWF's final nomination event will be conducted over the weekend and an athlete nominated to the AOC for selection.

"The AOC investigation will be on-going."

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