The IWF acknowledges IOC President Thomas Bach’s comments and the statement issued on behalf of the IOC Executive Board and has pledged further progress in both anti-doping work and governance reform.
On anti-doping, the IOC stressed two key points. The first is the maintenance of a link between IWF quota places available per National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Tokyo 2020 and the history of weightlifting doping offences linked to that NOC. The second point was the independence of anti-doping processes for weightlifting, ensured by a continuation of the comprehensive outsourcing of anti-doping work to the International Testing Agency (ITA) and the transfer of the disciplinary process to the Anti-Doping Division (ADD) of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
“The IWF is already a leader in terms of the independence shown by our anti-doping work. The most recent demonstration of this came only last week, with the establishment of a new Anti-Doping Commission based on independent members recommended and vetted by the ITA,” said IWF Interim President Ursula Papandrea. “We have enjoyed a successful working relationship with the ITA and fully intend to continue that relationship into 2021 and beyond. And as expressed to the IOC in June, we signed an agreement with the CAS ADD on April 22, delegating our first-instance authority to adjudicate alleged anti-doping rule violations and any sanctions. As for the Olympic Qualifying System for weightlifting, its unique mechanism for promoting clean sport drew public praise from the IOC when it was agreed between us. The mechanism will be maintained.”
In terms of governance reform, the IOC reiterated the need for athlete representation within all appropriate IWF committees and commissions. The IOC also reiterated the need for progress on a new constitution for the IWF, developed with the help of independent input.
“We are lucky to have a freshly-appointed group of leading athletes that have now joined the IWF’s Athletes Commission and they are already attending our Executive Board meetings. I have no doubt that they will soon be helping further guide our decision-making by joining other commissions,” continued Papandrea. “As for constitutional reform, progress on a new Reform and Governance Commission and the inclusion of a replacement set of independents could certainly be quicker and more comprehensive. I am confident that with IOC Executive Board pointing the way, this progress can now be delivered.”
With the IOC Executive Board due to decide quota places and events for Paris 2024 at its forthcoming December meeting, the IOC has made it clear that quota places, events and even weightlifting’s place on the Olympic Programme itself will depend on progress.
“The ongoing doping among weightlifters revealed by the IOC’s retesting of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 samples led to 56 fewer places for weightlifters in Tokyo 2020 compared to Rio 2016, with one medal event fewer,” continued Papandrea. “I am under no illusions about the likely impact of any failure to act promptly on the IOC’s latest call to action.”