IWF rejects ARD allegations

Yesterday evening, the German TV station, ARD, ran a show that focused on doping and governance issues within weightlifting. A number of historical issues, some already disproven and others unfounded, were raised.

The IWF has to express its shock and dismay at the program as it contains many insinuations, unfounded accusations and distorted information, and it categorically denies the unsubstantiated and very serious accusations made against it by the show.

The IWF has always been and is today fully WADA Code compliant.  It has been running a progressive and extensive anti-doping program, which has been continuously upgraded, including creative and pioneer measures.

While we are compiling a robust response, we can identify several statements that we are able to refute, e.g.:

A) Alleged mishandling of Olympic Games TV revenue shares received from the IOC. – It must be said that between 2009 and 2011 the IWF received exactly the same claim. The matter was then discussed and dealt with by the IWF Executive Board and an extensive document package was submitted to the IOC Ethics Commission for study. It was finally established that:

  • No money was missing;
  • The President and the General Secretary-Treasurer acted in full accordance with the IWF Constitution and provisions in effect at the time;
  • All the Olympic revenues were accounted and duly documented in the IWF official bank accounts, (none of them secret),
  • The Executive Board had full knowledge of the IWF assets.

B) Historical testing of leading athletes, in particular Georgian Olympic and World Champion Lasha Talakhadze allegedly not tested during his suspension and before winning the title.

The allegation is completely false since Mr. Talakhadze was tested three times (two times out of competition) in 2015, even during his suspension period. Furthermore, he was tested six times in 2016 including the Rio Olympic Games, three times out of competition prior to the Games.

C) Regarding the 2015 IWF World Championships held in Houston, the IWF wishes to emphasize that USADA was contracted in cooperation with HUNADO. The Test Distribution Plan prepared by the IWF Anti-Doping Commission resulted in 24 anti-doping rule violations (ADRV). According to our knowledge, USADA additionally conducted doping controls according to their own test distribution plan – resulting in zero ADRVs.

Due to the successful cooperation in 2015 Houston, USADA continued its cooperation with HUNADO at the 2017 World Championships in Anaheim and at the 2019 Youth World Championships held in Las Vegas.

The more recent issue of extensive doping among Thai weightlifters was also raised and the IWF has immediately acted on this. This is a matter that was first revealed thanks to the IWF’s decision to submit in-competition samples, that initially had returned no adverse findings, for further analysis. The revelations by the Thai weightlifter, who is an Olympic champion, are highly worrying and the IWF is following up the issue with the Thai Weightlifting Association and WADA.

Further information on the Thai situation: IWF Follow-up On Widespread Doping Among Thai Athletes

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