Renegade weightlifter Daniel Koum says Australian officials cost him a medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after he failed to find a way onto the podium in the men's 62kg division.
Koum's protracted and bitter falling out with the Australian Weightlifting Federation saw him compete for his native Cameroon in Glasgow instead of Australia, whom he represented at the 2010 Games in Delhi.
The 29-year-old Victorian resident was suspended by the AWF for 12 months after he was alleged to have asked for $5000 before a qualfication event for the London Olympics. It was alleged Koum demanded the money or would refuse to lift, which would have cost Australia its Olympic spot.
He spent 12 months on the sidelines but when he tried to return to competition at the start of the year, he was blocked by the AWF, who failed to re-admit him as a member of the organisation. His Games hopes were in limbo until Cameroon welcomed him back to their team despite Koum not being able to compete for 18 months.
He finished eighth in Glasgow, failing to lift a personal best and finishing 19kg off the mark set by gold medal winner Dimitris Minasidis from Cyprus.
Koum said the drawn-out saga in trying to return to the sport had badly compromised his preparations for the event and it cost him the chance of a medal.
"It did, it did (cost me a medal). I was in and out, in and out, I had to go back to work, not sure if I would make it. It unfortunately didn't happen for me today," Koum said.
"It did have a big impact because until the last moment I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to compete. I was waiting, waiting... it took a lot of time. Then I come here and things weren't right today. For the next one I will prepare properly.
"I think I can do more than that so I'm pretty disappointed. It's tough competition. You have a bad day and it doesn't work out."
Koum's cards seem marked by the AWF but was grateful Cameroon - the same country from which he sought asylum after the Melbourne Games in 2006 - gave him the chance to compete.
"In January I put in my application to represent Australia and it was rejected. I immediately contacted Cameroon to say I am available and had been released by the Commonwealth Games Association so I was free to compete. I'm originally from Cameroon so it was easier for me to represent them again," he said.
And while he remains at loggerheads with senior AWF officials, Koum said he still dreamed of representing Australian in the future. He lifted in Glasgow still wearing an Australian weightlifting training shirt underneath his competition attire.
"I think I'm looking for 2018 (Gold Coast) if things get better. The people that are managing, they might not be there, I don't know. I don't actually have a problem with any Australian," Koum said.
"I did everything possible to get back to the team and it didn't happen. I couldn't afford to challenge them in court so I just let it go. Hopefully in the next couple of years I will be back."