International Weightlifting Federation Announces Results of Athletes’ Commission Elections

The IWF is working to ensure an "athlete-centered future" for the sport.

The structure of weightlifting‘s governance has changed. On Dec. 16, 2022, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) released a presser detailing the results of its historic Athletes’ Commission elections.

The IWF’s electoral process, which took place in tandem with the recently-wrapped 2022 World Weightlifting Championships (WWC) in Bogotá, Colombia from Dec. 5 to 16, elevated 10 new weightlifters to influential positions within the organization.

Here are the 10 members of the IWF Athletes’ Commission, who will serve for the next two years: 

IWF Athletes’ Commission | 2022 – 2024

  • Maude Charron (Canada)
  • Hidilyn Diaz (Philippines)
  • Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh (Qatar)
  • David Liti (New Zealand)
  • Forrester Osei (Ghana)
  • Luisa Peters (Cook Islands)
  • Marie Hanitra Roilya Ranaivosoa (Mauritius)
  • Yasmin Zammit Stevens (Malta)
  • Cyrille Tchatchet II (Great Britain)
  • Keydomar Giovanni Vallenilla Sanchez (Venezuela)

According to the IWF presser, diversity and parity were at the top of the priority list for their Electoral Board. All competing athletes at the 2022 WWC in Colombia were eligible to cast their vote from a list of 18 total candidates. 

Weightlifting judges at 2022 World Championships
Credit: William Johnson / BarbellStories

The five men and women appointed to the newly-minted Commission come from a wide variety of geographical and cultural backgrounds. Remarks on the election from IWF President Mohammed Jalood included some glowing words about the Commission and its role in advancing the IWF’s equity-focused policies: 

“I would like to congratulate and express our thanks, both to the athletes elected and all those who put themselves forward in this process. It has been encouraging to see such strong engagement and commitment to shaping a new future for weightlifting from our athlete community.

The IWF is proud to be setting a new standard for athlete representation in governance. As we look ahead, we see these elections as a crucial milestone in our journey of reform and towards ensuring a positive, sustainable, and athlete-centered future for our sport.” 

Notably, three members of the Commission will also receive positions on the IWF Executive Board. An additional trio will be granted full voting rights within the IWF Congress

What It Means

President Jalood’s commentary on the new Athletes’ Commission is in line with IWF rhetoric throughout 2022. Weightlifting’s bureaucracy has long been under fire for its haphazard approach to doping controls, policy transparency, and nepotism. As a consequence, the International Olympic Committee has placed weightlifting’s Olympic status under provisional review.

While there will be a weightlifting event at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, as of Dec. 2022, the sport is not on the docket for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. 

IWF Technical Officials at 2022 World Weightlifting Championships
Credit: William Johnson / BarbellStories

The IWF’s statements indicate their intent to involve athletes more directly in matters of governance as part of a larger effort to rehabilitate the sport’s international prestige. This directive aligns with Jalood’s earlier comments in October; he spoke positively about the lack of positive drug tests from the Tokyo Olympics as well as the high enrollment in Bogotá (the 2022 WWC was the largest World-level competition in modern weightlifting history). 

With the addition of a newly-elected Athletes’ Commission, the balance of power within the upper echelons of weightlifting appears to be shifting more in favor of the athletes themselves. 

Featured Image: William Johnson / BarbellStories