On March 5, 2021, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved their request for an extension to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualification period. This means that many events certain events that would normally have taken place after the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games — had the Games not been postponed — will still maintain their status as Olympic qualification events.
The current Olympic qualification system requires weightlifters to compete six times in the 18-month Olympic qualification period leading up to the Games. Additionally, athletes have to compete in each of the three six-month qualifying periods during that time. This design is intended to combat anti-doping violations.
However, meeting these requirements proved impossible for some athletes who planned to compete at events that were ultimately canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. The IOC’s approval to extend the qualification period means those athletes will still have a chance to earn a spot at the Games.
In the IWF’s announcement, they listed “the East Asian Championships, South-American, Ibero-American & OPEN Senior Championships, and the 2021 IWF Junior World Championships” as examples of events benefitting from the IOC’s approval.
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Olympic Qualification System
The Olympic qualification system can seem tricky at first glance, but here are the main aspects to understand at this point:
- Individual athletes qualify by earning ranking points at qualifier events.
- Athletes must compete at least two times in the weight category they want to compete in at the Olympic Games across their six appearances at qualifier events.
- There isn’t a set number of points that secure a spot at the Olympic Games. Athletes are offered spots at the Games based on their ranking at the end of the qualification period.
There are Gold, Silver, and Bronze qualifier events with the former offering a higher number of points. In Laymen’s terms, the Gold Qualifiers are worth more than the Silver Qualifiers and so on.
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Olympic Qualification Events
There are currently many events scheduled on the IWF competition calendar that have Olympic qualification status. Here is the list of the silver and gold qualifiers below as they stand at the time of this article’s publication:
Events that are listed below as a “2020” event retained their title but were postponed due to COVID-19 — similar to how the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games kept the “2020” in its name. These are the updated dates:
- April 2 through 7 — IWF African Championships, Gold Qualifier
- April 3 through 11 — IWF European Championships, Gold Qualifier
- April 16 through 25 — IWF 2020 Asian Championships, Gold Qualifier
- April 18 through 25 — IWF 2020 Pan-American Championships, Gold Qualifier
- May 10 through 14 — IWF South-American, Ibero-American & OPEN Senior Championships, Silver Qualifier
- May 23 through 31 — IWF Junior World Championships, Gold Qualifier
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are currently scheduled for July 23 through August 8, 2021.
Feature image from IWF’s Instagram page: @iwfnet