Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,
Following the first IWF Executive Board meeting and Congress held after the elections and the very successful 2017 IWF Junior World Championships held in the Olympic city of Tokyo, JPN, it is timely to assess major events from the past period.
Reflecting on IOC Executive Board decision on the Tokyo 2020 programme, we published a brief note regarding the principles set by Agenda 2020 in maximizing events, reducing number of participating athletes and gender equality.
After the IOC Executive Board meeting, I had a call from Thomas Bach, IOC President informing me about the serious decision taking into consideration the interest of the IOC Family.
The below stated facts intend to clarify the ongoing series of structural changes within the Games and the Olympic Movement’s mutation already underway in the past years. The aim of becoming more youth-focused and more urban is reached through an increase of events, an overall reduction of 285 athletes from Rio 2016, and the highest representation of female athletes in Olympic history.
Weightlifting was confirmed as one of the 28 sports on the programme both on the 2020 and 2024 Olympic programs – the latter subject to conditions – but lost 64 quotas as well as a bodyweight category in an initiative of becoming gender equal.
Gender equality was reached by losing a Men event instead of receiving a Women one. The Olympic programme was harmonized for all the other sports having bodyweight categories.
The reduction in the number of athlete quota was surprisingly high, but WE WEIGHTLIFTING as a member of the Olympic Family – besides the other 6 sports losing quota – have to bear the reallocation to make space for the new disciplines and mixed events to come in.
As a result of the evolution occurring in the sport movement, our sport and a warning that further actions from the IWF are expected.
Those attending the meetings held prior to the 2017 IWF JWC received additional information about the decision regarding 2020 and 2024, it’s meaning and consequences.
Anyone understanding the Olympic Movement knows that such decisions is made with prior consultations, studies and analyses of the situation and not in a matter of days. Whoever tries to present this as the consequence of the IWF elections clearly has an incorrect intention not to help our sport.
The IWF Executive Board stands unanimously behind the idea of unity, common efforts, open mind and determination instead of generating conflicts and creating division. The aim is to guarantee our sport’s desired future.
The Board also agreed on the necessary action plan endorsed by the Congress to be put into place to present a qualitative document to the IOC by the set deadline.
Prior to Rio 2016, the IWF has been acting with maximum austerity taking away allocated quota from NOCs, stopping the participation of weightlifters from three countries and insuring protectionist measures towards the clean athletes.
The warning addressed by the IOC for 2024 will be tackled on more than one front and now again, the entire leadership of the IWF present in Tokyo was unanimous. We are united and determined to do everything to protect the clean athletes and satisfy the IOC Executive Board’s expectations.
On the one side: we will look for ways to even further reinforce our Anti-Doping Program just as we did in the past and broaden our tools to eliminate doping. On another side, we shall widen the scope of awareness among the most authoritative sport leaders and our stakeholders.
It is important to underline that without the cooperation and participation of all stakeholders – NOCs, MFs, athletes, Laboratories, NADOs etc. – in the fight on doping the IWF’s measures and actions, however severe, cannot be successful, either.
The constitution of the two Working Groups to address the duties and responsibilities communicated by the IOC decision are underway. The Terms of Reference and membership composition – including high profile experts – is in process and will be announced shortly.
The Working Groups will report and make recommendations to the IWF Executive Board for their extraordinary meeting to be held in September and in November before the 2017 IWF World Championships. The outcome will be submitted to the IOC by December.
Every opinion including forward-thinking and constructive concepts and proposals are heard while anyone willing to contribute is welcome.
It is our duty to cooperate successfully with the IOC and I invite all members of the Weightlifting Family to help us.
It is neither the time to speculate nor to send out messages pushing for division but high time to join forces and ally to the cause in order to ensure weightlifting’s deserved position in the Olympic Movement.