We congratulate the Organizing Committee for delivering an excellent World Championships in a special situation – without Thai athletes following TAWA’s voluntarily and irrevocable undertaking not to participate with athletes at any IWF events, including the Qualification events and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Championships saw 588 athletes from 97 Member Federations compete – the highest ever number of countries at a World Championships, reflecting the ongoing growth of weightlifting worldwide. Of these 588 athletes, 47% were women. While our ultimate goal is to hit a 50:50 gender balance, we are encouraged by the number of female athletes we had at the Championships as we continue to reduce the gap in pursuit of gender equality.
A total of 20 countries won medals in the female competitions and 21 won medals in the men’s, demonstrating the strength and breadth of weightlifting. While China topped the medal table, the Championships also saw the emergence of nations with less well-established weightlifting histories. Botswana competed for the first time at a World Championships in Pattaya, Iran sent a women’s team for the first time and Great Britain won a rare medal. These ’ involvement showed us that our programmes to widen the reach of weightlifting and strengthen Member Federations are bearing fruit.
Athletes excelled at the Championships setting 60 (27 female and 33 male) world records, including youth, junior and senior. These outstanding performances resulted in huge viewership and engagement around the world. The Championships was televised in nearly 100 countries with a reach of over 500 million households. The live show featured numerous all-new production enhancements, including updated dynamic scoring graphics, guest announcers, and a warmup room reporter. For the first time ever, the IWF also produced a daily preview show, which was distributed worldwide on IWF social media platforms, as well as OlympicChannel.com.
The event was webcast live on the Olympic Channel ensuring fans from every country without a broadcast partner were able to enjoy the action. All lifts of all athletes can be watched and enjoyed again on www.iwf.net, thanks to the recently introduced Video Playback Technology.
Over the course of the event, there was more than one million likes, comments, shares or retweets on social media contributing to 55.5 million impressions made on all the IWF’s social media platforms. Social media continues to be a key target area for the IWF as we look to grow our sport and engage with young people around the world.
Central to being able to grow weightlifting is delivering a sport that athletes and fans can have trust in and that ensures a level playing field. IWF is 100% committed to anti-doping and protecting clean athletes and has taken comprehensive measures to strengthen its anti-doping programme. One major step was completed at the World Championships by transferring all key areas to the International Testing Agency (ITA) who was in charge of in-competition testing for the first time. This included pre-competition activities, like eligibility checks and test distribution. The ITA, with an international group of doping control officers, conducted 321 tests during the event.
As is customary at IWF events, we maintained our emphasis on educating athletes about anti-doping, and in particular their rights and responsibilities, with a range of activities linked to the #iLiftCLEAN campaign. #iLiftCLEAN in Pattaya included both a booth made in the framework of the WADA legacy outreach programme, to engage with the educational materials and also dedicated workshops. Two seminars for athletes and their entourages, meanwhile, provided opportunities to learn in-depth from world-leading experts.
At the 2017 World Championships held in Anaheim, in order to ensure greater integrity and transparency the IWF Executive Board decided to approve the recommendations of the Clean Sport Commission and grant authority to an Independent Member Federations Sanctions Panel (IMFSP). The IMFSP has the sole authority to impose sanctions on Member Federations, in line with Article 12 of the IWF Anti-Doping Policy. Ahead of the Championships, it was announced that the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation had been suspended for a period of two years and so was not eligible to compete. As a consequence, the new host for the 2020 IWF Junior World Championships shall be communicated as soon as possible, including date and location.
The IWF will continue to work with the Federation and all Federations to support them in strengthening their anti-doping programmes and ensuring clean sport in their countries. Protecting clean athletes remains our central aim and only in doing so will we be able to deliver great World Championships as we saw in Pattaya.
The Tokyo 2020 Qualification Database including the updated ranking lists can be visited at https://www.iwf.net/qualif/menu/