On 26 February 2008, a Working Group composed of IWF President Dr.Tamás Aján, General Secretary, Mr.Yannis Sgouros, 1st Vice-President, Mr.Sam Coffa and Mrs. Fany Zora, Assistant General Secretary met in Budapest to prepare the next Executive Board meeting, focusing on subjects regarding the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The meeting offered an opportunity for the Greek and the Australian officials to share their comments and views with www.iwf.net concerning the upcoming Olympic Games.
Yannis Sgouros, IWF General Secretary:
"Four years ago the Games took place in a small country with big history. Now the Games move to a huge country like China. While helping the younger generation to realize their dreams, we should teach them the history of the sport, including the fantastic 2004 Olympic Games. We should implement the real values of sport and Olympism: life without doping, without violence; life with sport and culture. We trust that these ideals will be prevalent in China, as well."
"What is the post-Olympic life of the 2004 Olympic Weightlifting Hall?"
"The future of the Nikea Hall is still under negotiation. The government has a strong wish to give the hall to the University of Piraeus. At the same time, the Hellenic Weightlifting Federation is eager to use it together with the University. Debates are still going on. However, it is evident that the achievements of our weightlifters are part of modern Greece’s history. Greeks still love and admire our winning Dream Team. I hope we can continue writing weightlifting history in this hall."
"What are you focusing on at the Beijing Olympics as General Secretary?"
"Being a Greek, it is not easy for me to say the Games in China will give more to the world than we did. Certainly, however, it will offer exciting new features given that the world has developed rapidly during the last for years, and China is still partly undiscovered to the world. As far as the IWF is concerned: we are stronger and better prepared than any time before, and together with hosts we are ready to organize an unforgettable competition."
Sam Coffa, Australia, IWF 1st Vice-President and Technical Committee Chairman:
"As Technical Delegate to the Games, my main job is to supervise the technical preparation of the Beijing competitions. From this point of view I have to say everything is absolutely perfect. In June I fly to China for the fourth time during this preparation period and check everything once more. We want to be the best. Luckily enough, despite the cultural differencies the Chinese collegues are very cooperative. I am very satisfied with the work we have done. But I must confess, sometimes we moved slowly as they always had to consult with another superior and another and so on. This situation is strange for a foreigner and it was a little challenging for us."
"Could you predict the possible gold medal winners in weightlifting?"
"Particularly in the women’s field we experience a very strong Chinese dominance. I think just the superheavy is open between the Chinese and the Korean lifter. The men categories up to 77 kg will also be dominated by Chinese and the others by Europeans. The superheavy might be the exception. The wide distribution of medals is important for us as international federation but I think we will hear the Chinese national anthem many times."