Every day we publish a selection of key news stories from the business of sport, to give you a taste of the in-depth news, data, insight and analysis available when you subscribe to GlobalData’s Sport Intelligence Center. If you are interested in finding out more about accessing our Sport Intelligence Center, please click here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Weightlifting - 08 Sep 2021
Sarah Davies, chairperson of the athletes' commission for the beleaguered International Weightlifting Federation, has said the governing body has made enough progress in the last few weeks in terms of its governance structures to secure the sport’s place at the Paris 2024 Olympic games.
In an open letter to the sport’s various stakeholders and copied personally to the International Olympic Committee's president Thomas Bach, Davies said: “I am optimistic we have made sufficient progress for the IOC to allow weightlifting in the Paris games.”
Davies, from the UK, added that the new IWF constitution which has been voted in by the executive board, a necessary step to protect its Olympic status, represents “a leap forward in athlete participation in governance.”
Having been told by Bach on 23 August that “there is no way weightlifting will stay in the Olympics in its current form”, Davies then was involved with a last-gasp process where a new constitution was voted in last week in Doha, with over 90 per cent of 133 member federations voting in favour of adopting it.
Under the new constitution, some current members of the IWF’s executive board will not be able to stand at the next set of elections in December – for the 2021-25 period – as they represent countries with multiple instances of doping in the sport over the last four-year period.
The amendments also bar anyone over the age of 70 from seeking election or re-election for a senior IWF role, in line with a similar clause in the IOC’s regulations.
The constitution’s approval came very much at the eleventh hour – had it not been voted through, the IOC would have in all probability suspended the federation at its own executive board meeting earlier this month.
Davies has said the changes represent “a monumental step forward in the war against doping…
“I believe we have opened a new chapter in weightlifting, one with a hope of transparent governance, clean sport, and athlete representation.”
Athletes now have three votes in the IWF congress and on the executive board, which Davies has said secures rights “that exist in no other governing body.”
Davies also highlighted the amendment in the new constitution which puts a limit of two terms on the IWF president and three terms on its board members.
She said: “This provision will prevent history from repeating itself by having the same person as president for decades at a time.”
The next IWF congress and elections will take place on 20 and 21 December, moved back by three weeks from its original dates to allow new candidates to be vetted.
The deadline for nominations is 21 September.
Mike Irani, the IWF’s interim president, has said: “We must ensure the proper independent scrutiny of candidates prior to them appearing on the ballot for IWF positions of trust and leadership.”
The IWF’s reputation has recently been blighted by allegations of corruption and doping cover-ups.
Following a documentary on the IWF by German public broadcaster ARD last year, which highlighted nearly 150 unresolved doping cases between 2009 and 2019, an independent report produced by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren showed that 40 positive doping tests from athletes were covered up and that $10.4 million in IWF income was unaccounted for during the presidency of Tamas Ajan, the former IWF president who resigned after 20 years in April last year.
The sport was only confirmed as being present at the recently completed Tokyo 2020 Olympics because it agreed to hand over the management of its anti-doping programme to the International Testing Agency until 2024.
Weightlifting was featured at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 and has been ever-present at the games since 1920.