International Weightlifting Federation Set to Defend New Olympic Qualification System

Earlier today, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced in a press release that they’re preparing to defend the newly proposed Olympic weightlifting Qualification System in front of the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).

This news came after the Weightlifting Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan sent an appeal to the CAS to challenge the newly formulated qualification system.

For background on the new Qualification System, in April, the IWF released the newly formulated 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualification System for individual athletes. In their announcement, the IWF stated that athletes will now be required to compete six times in the 18-month Olympic qualification period in lead up to the Games. Officials indicated this change was implemented to combat doping issues in the sport.

In addition to the new 18-month qualification system, the IWF also announced that five nations would be limited to only sending two athletes apiece (one male & one female) to the Olympics in response to doping positives in past competitions; these nations include Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Belarus.

These five nations fell subject to this clause after the IWF ruled that any nation with 20 or more doping violations between 2008 to 2020 would have their Olympic attendance limited. Additionally, countries with 10 to 19 doping violations will be limited to two athletes per gender.

The new qualification system, reworked anti-doping regulations, and gender quotas for the 2020 Games were instituted in response to the threat of weightlifting being removed from the Olympics entirely. Back in June of 2017, the IOC’s president Thomas Bach voiced that weightlifting needed a change regarding anti-doping efforts in order to remain in the Olympics.

USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews weighed in on the recent press release and said on Facebook, “While I understand why from their perspective, it is very disappointing to see Kazakhstan drag our sport through CAS in relation to the Olympic Qualification System. Let me be very clear, this system is essential to keep us in the Olympic Games. Agreeing with it or not, even it has been complimented by President of the IOC, Thomas Bach.

We stand right behind the IWF as they defend this at CAS.”

As of right now, there have been no further details released on the timeline of events in respects to the hearing with the IWF and the appeal with CAS.

Feature image from @iwfnet Instagram page.