Lausanne, Budapest and online; 18 March 2020;
Working to support weightlifters during this period of unprecedented uncertainty, the IWF Executive Board met for the last two days and approved a number of key measures. Priority was given to the welfare of athletes, officials and staff. Suggested modifications to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification System were also approved, and the continuity of clean sport measures was also addressed.
IWF Acting President Ursula Papandrea said: “Athletes and those who support them are no exception in facing a public health crisis. The IWF is united in expressing its concern for all those affected. We have to acknowledge the reality of cancelled competitions and training camps and adapt accordingly. The IWF has moved quickly to develop changes to the Olympic Qualifying System that reflect these new circumstances.”
Following the advice received from the IOC authorising the IWF to consider modifications to the elements to the existing Weightlifting Qualification System, the Executive Board accepted the recommendations of the IWF Sport Commission to align as closely as possible to the original framework. For the avoidance of doubt, the Executive Board agreed not to extend the Qualification Period.
The IWF has already submitted a modified Olympic Qualification System to the IOC for approval and will communicate it to athletes and Member Federations as soon as that approval is granted. The maintenance of an effective anti-doping programme was a key consideration in developing the proposed changes.
Executive Board members also emphasised the need ensure international competition is resumed as quickly as is appropriate in the short to medium term. Looking to the future, Hersonissos (GRE) was approved as host of the 2022 IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships. The IWF Executive Board also approved the guiding principles of the Qualification System for YOG Dakar 2022 to be shared with stakeholders in the near future.
Further issues considered by the IWF Executive Board included the IWF Strategic Plan and its next steps. The Oversight and Integrity Commission updated the board on the continued work of Prof Richard McLaren and his team.
Complementing the recent technical rule changes, the IWF Refugee Policy was endorsed in order to provide a pathway for refugee athletes to compete at the IWF events and possibly, at the Olympic Games.
The Executive Board was held online, as the IWF reiterates the importance of advice being given by public health authorities around the world in terms of limiting physical contact with others and practising exceptional hygiene. “We are grateful that technology means that coaches can still communicate with athletes still training under difficult conditions and that teammates can still encourage each other,” continued Papandrea. “The mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone in the global weightlifting family has never been more important. The IWF would like to remind everyone that physical distance no longer needs to mean we are not in touch with each other to lift each other’s spirits. This is one area we will be working on in the coming days and weeks.”