The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board announced three major developments on April 1, 2021:
- The location change for the IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships — a gold qualifier event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, The event is moving from Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan on May 23 through 31, 2021.
- Additional changes to Article 12.3.2 of the IWF’s Anti-Doping rules focus on the financial penalty for “multiple anti-doping rule violations.” Maximum fines increased 40 percent from $300,000 to $500,000.
- June 30, 2021, is the confirmed date for the IWF Constitutional Congress.
According to IWF Interim President Dr. Michael Irani, the intention of these changes is to further their goal of “ensuring clean, fair and exciting competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games while also reforming the IWF in order to ensure it is fit for a brighter future.”
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IWF Junior World Championships
Originally set to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the competition will now be hosted in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from May 23-31, 2021. According to the IWF’s announcement, “the decision was received from the Saudi Arabian Weightlifting Federation (AWF)” and “ongoing issues arising from the pandemic.”
Due to COVID-19‘s disruption of the schedule for Olympic qualifying events, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games’ qualification period was extended until the end of May. Athletes who still need to earn requisite points to qualify for the Games will have that opportunity at the IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships.
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Article 12 was last amended when the IWF reversed the sanctionable threshold of doping violations from four back to three. This new change increases the potential maximum fine that could be incurred for violating anti-doping rules from $300,000 to $500,000.
IWF Constitutional Congress
Set to be held on June 30, 2021, the Constitutional Congress is when a vote will be taken on whether or not to adopt changes to the IWF constitution that the International Olympic Committee (IOC), member federations, and athletes alike have all urged the IWF to make.
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The scheduling of the IWF Constitutional and Electoral Congresses has been in turmoil. On multiple occasions, the IOC has stated that weightlifting’s place on the Olympic program is in jeopardy if sufficient cultural and governance reform, amidst allegations of financial corruption, is not completed. Weightlifting’s athlete quota for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games was already reduced by 76 spots — the most of any sport. With the state of what the IWF constitution will look like in flux, the Electoral Congress continued to be delayed — its tentative current schedule sometime in October 2021.
The IWF proposed a new constitution for review by “IWF Member Federations and external stakeholders, including the IOC.” The window for feedback closed on March 31, 2021. The new constitution is expected to be determined before the Constitutional Congress on June 30.
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