International Weightlifting – IWF to take stronger action against doping

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) wants to take stronger action against doping in weightlifting. The federation emphasized this during a meeting in Rome last week.

The IWF continues to vow improvement, but whether it will stick to its intentions is questionable. At a meeting in Rome last week, for example, the federation stressed its commitment to eradicating doping in weightlifting and plans to step up its crackdown on illicit performance enhancements in the future.

During the Rome meeting, the IWF Board agreed to exclude nations where out-of-competition doping controls are not possible. This, it said, was to support zero tolerance of doping. And plans to expand the investigative powers of doping authorities were also a topic in Rome. For example, minimum requirements for doping controls in the member federations are to be guaranteed.

Two other people who spoke independently of the IWF on the issue of doping at the board meeting were Rune Andersen (Norwegian chairman of the IWF Anti-Doping Commission) and Benjamin Cohen (director general of the International Testing Agency (ITA)). The two see progress in this area as absolutely necessary to combat weightlifting’s disastrous doping record in the past.

Because that’s the reason why the federation has lost more than half of its quota places at the Olympics since 2016 and was even removed from the program for Los Angeles 2028 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For example, at the 2012 London Olympics, the fifth-place lifter in the 94 kg weight class ended up winning the gold medal because all the other athletes were disqualified after the fact. The samples were retested four years later and subsequently some nations were banned for doping.

“Improve education of athletes and coaches.”

At the WF Board meeting in Rome, many changes were announced – as so often before – the relevant IWF statement said that special attention was given to how the Federation could further improve the education of athletes, coaches and national federations.

Because this is a point that the IOC also demands from the International Weightlifting Federation. According to the IOC, inadequate leadership is another problem of the IWF here, but this issue was also addressed at the board meeting in Rome last week. So the federation now wants to look back over the last decade to find out what went wrong during that time.

Another discussion at the meeting concerned the qualification system for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Changes are probably still to be made in this – even though the Executive Board cannot do anything in this case without the approval of the IWF Athletes’ Commission. For example, the IWF statement said, “The protection of clean athletes was a clear guiding principle in the proposal to update the Olympic Qualification System for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.” Thus, it said, the Executive Committee – subject to the written approval of the Athletes’ Commission – approved the plan to strengthen the qualification system.

Once approved by the Athletes’ Commission, the proposal will be forwarded to the International Olympic Committee, which will surely welcome the IWF’s reforms.

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