Report: 41 Athletes Banned from European Weightlifting Championships

Dozens of athletes were barred after failing to log their whereabouts in the leadup to the event.

The 2019 European Weightlifting Championships began in Batumi, Georgia this weekend but 41 athletes from 18 nations were barred after failing to comply with World Anti-Doping Agency regulations.

Note that this doesn’t mean they tested positive for banned substances. Rather, the athletes didn’t comply with rules that require them to regularly log their whereabouts on WADA’s website through a program called ADAMS, or Anti-Doping Administration and Management System. Note that the IWF enforces the rule but ADAMS is managed by WADA, and the rule is in place so that WADA knows athletes’ locations in case they decide to conduct a random drug test — not providing the info can be seen as trying to avoid testing.

According to Inside the Games, the barred athletes (who are currently unnamed) were from all over Europe — Scandinavia, central Europe, the Balkans, and former Soviet countries — and many arrived in Georgia to compete unaware that they were ineligible to lift.

This isn’t the first time this rule has made athletes ineligible to compete. Last October, over 70 athletes were barred from the World Weightlifting Championships, mostly for the same reason, but little sympathy was found at the IWF. Director General Attila Adamfi said at the time, “The IWF is determined to protect clean athletes by not only introducing tough rules, but also strictly enforcing them. The IWF strictly monitors the whereabouts information of athletes before IWF events.”

european weightlifting championships
Image via European Weightlifting Federation on Facebook.

At the European Weightlifting Championships, many athletes reported difficulty using the system,  claiming it’s outdated and prone to crashing. Belgian weightlifter Tom Goegbuer, who now sits on the IWF’s Clean Sport Commission, said,

I’m angry that this system is not better, that the global software of ADAMS is not user friendly. I first used ADAMS in 2006 and now it looks the same, with the difference that it takes longer to log in. Things change so fast in the world of informatics, of software – ADAMS should get better over time but it doesn’t.

A spokesperson for WADA pushed back, telling Inside the Games, “We are aware some athletes have experienced difficulties with elements of the whereabouts app (…) If athletes experience difficulties with any part of the process of filing whereabouts information, there are a number of simple alternatives open to them. In those cases, the relevant International Federation or National Anti-Doping Agency would notify WADA of this.”

The number of athletes competing in Batumi has dropped from 401 to 360.

Featured image via European Weightlifting Federation on Facebook.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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