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Weightlifting, “the Fortius of the Olympic Games”

The International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) Sport Programme Commission met for the first time in Budapest on Monday and Tuesday this week.  IWF President, Dr. Tamas Ajan opened the meeting reminding that “Citius, Altius, Fortius is the motto of the Olympic Movement and underlining that weightlifting is the fortius of those Games, so the IWF must be committed to protecting the integrity of its sport”.

This new Commission is addressing the weightlifting programme for future Olympic Games recognising the need to take full account of all possible measures which will protect our clean athletes and ensure a level playing field for all in the future.  IWF has consistently spent a very high percentage of its revenues on the fight against doping. It is proposed that it now focuses also on the quality of its programmes and working at a higher and more strategic level. IWF will reinforce its efforts for clean sport by making new recommendations presented to the IWF Executive Board at its next meeting at the end of September. These will include proposals on competition formats, bodyweight categories, principles of the Olympic Games Qualification System all of which can be designed to enhance the current rules and policies,

Weightlifting first appeared on the modern Olympic Games programme 121 years ago in 1896 and its practice is now fundamental to the preparation of athletes in all Olympic sports and disciplines.  Indeed throughout society the growth in using weights for health, leisure and recreational purposes positions weightlifting front and centre of physical activity in society at all levels.  The Commission accepted that this brings with it major responsibilities for IWF, but shared with the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency, to make every effort to ensure clean participation in the use of weights and lifting throughout society.

The Commission recognised the strong position taken by the IWF in its rules and regulations and their application, in the sanctioning of National Weightlifting Federations by suspension from the Olympic Games of Rio 2016, one of only two International Federations to do so.  However, it felt that more must be done following the high number of positive cases in weightlifting from the retests of samples collected during the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.  The Commission urges the three main actors, IWF, IOC and WADA to support each other in a cooperation towards eliminating doping from weightlifting in the interests of global society.  It concluded that this issue is too big for IWF alone to tackle and identified the need for all three actors to play their parts in full.

The recommendations of the Commission will be fully aligned with the IWF Clean Sport Commission’s discussions and recommendations, having its first meeting on 11 – 12 September 2017.

The Sport Programme Commission will next meet in October to finalise specific measures for the consideration of the IWF Executive Board.

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