Fairness and transparency – This is what the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) wants to ensure with stricter doping rules for out-of-competition testing, thus taking an important step towards the sport’s continued Olympic future.
The current problem with out-of-competition doping tests is that countries such as North Korea do not allow them, said Antonio Urso, the newly elected secretary general of the IWF, to insidethegames. Those who do not allow such tests in the future and violate the rule would face exclusion from the 2024 Olympics in Paris – this would be fair.
Currently, it is very difficult to gain access to certain countries outside of competitions in order to carry out doping tests. This hinders the work of the independent testers, who usually do not find a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for sample analysis in the countries.
In order to be able to carry out out-of-competition doping controls in all countries in the future, the IWF has met with WADA and the International Testing Agency (ITA). In this meeting, the WADA drew the attention of the International Weightlifting Federation to the anti-doping regulations in track and field. These state that male and female track and field athletes who wish to qualify for major events, including the Olympic Games, must undergo three tests within ten months (one of these test must be a blood test). Thus, athletes must always be available for unannounced out-of-competition tests.
However, this new rule for the sport of weightlifting has not yet been adopted, but it should be ready by December, when the first qualifying competition for Paris 2024 takes place with the World Championships in Colombia. This date will also be used to fundamentally revise the way the sport of weightlifting is currently regulated. As part of this, IWF members will likely be asked to adopt new bylaws within a year.
The fact that stricter doping rules as well as a new statute are currently the focus of the International Weightlifting Federation comes as a result of a past meeting between the IWF leadership and the International Olympic Committee. Thus, weightlifting’s top officials would like to see their sport rise again in the IOC’s favor, regain trust, and be included again in the Olympic program for Los Angeles 2028.