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. 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.