On June 30, 2021, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Congress met as a group for the first time in two years with the intent to approve the proposed reforms to the IWF Constitution. Delegates from 119 national weightlifting federations were present — significantly less than the 192 member federations that comprise the IWF — with weightlifting’s future on the Olympic program at stake.
According to the IWF’s press release, “proposals submitted by [the] World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Testing Agency (ITA) were approved with the required majority of two-thirds.” However, 55 member federations voted against adopting the new proposed Constitution “as written,” according to Inside The Games. The meeting was adjourned due to “the abundant material to be considered,” and the IWF Congress will reconvene at a yet-to-be-determined time before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which begins on July 23, 2021.
[Related: USA Weightlifting Announces 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Roster]
The approved amendments regarding anti-doping proposed by the ITA and WADA are the following:
- A member federation can be sanctioned if three or more of its athletes or athlete support personnel are found guilty of an anti-doping rules violation (ADRV) within any 12-month period. There is no longer the need to determine whether a member federation in question suffers from “systemic doping” issues.
- No member of the IWF Executive Board may be appointed to the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission, Independent Monitoring Group, or Independent Member Federation Sanctioning Panel.
- A maximum of two IWF Executive Board members can be appointed to each of the following: Development and Education Commission, Gender Equality Commission, Legal Commission, Governance Commission, Anti-Doping Commission.
- Jurisdiction for sanctioning a member federation falls under the Independent Member Federation Sanctions Panel (IMFSP) rather than the IWF Congress to avoid double sanctions and legal difficulties.
BarBend reached out to USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews for comment regarding the IWF Congress’s meeting and adjournment without a finalized Consitution. Andrews and other member federations, such as British Weight Lifting (BWL), and the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF), have previously voiced their discontent with the IWF Executive board’s handling of governance reform. BWL CEO Ashley Metcalfe has called for the IWF Executive Board to “step down” after weightlifting had its athlete quota reduced by 76 spots for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games — the largest of any sport on the Olympic program.
“The Congress did not pass the necessary reforms today, but in principle, the majority of nations agreed that the draft prepared by Darren Kane and the Reform Commission was the principal base for reform,” said Andrews. “There is some work to do to move forward from both those who raised objections to the Constitution and those who support those reforms. I hope our sport can come together and agree on the necessary reforms demanded by modern governance, as well as by the IOC, in the areas of eligibility criteria, anti-doping, gender equality (minimum 30 percent), and athlete representation (minimum 20 percent).”
The IWF press release did not state when specifically the IWF Congress would reconvene prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to finalize a new Constitution. They only stated that “a majority of the Member Federations agreed that the draft constitution should serve as the basis for the IWF’s future governance.”
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