International Weightlifting Federation Releases 2016 Executive Board Minutes

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has released minutes from their Executive Board Meetings that were held throughout the year in 2016. The calendar year of 2016 through January of this year (and even the immediate future) has included some of the most eventful decisions and policies to be implemented by the IWF in quite a long time, if not ever in the history of the sport of weightlifting.

Meeting Minutes

Some highlighted policy matters that have already come out of 2016 and been reported on are:

Below is a recap of some the more interesting storylines that came out of these meeting reports that we haven’t covered yet.


In March, Mr. Sam Coffa, an IWF executive board member from Australia, shared concerns about the growth of CrossFit, potentially to the detriment of weightlifting, and called for preventive actions. Dr. Christian Baumgartner, and IWF executive board member from Germany, said that the German Weightlifting Federation is profiting from “the CrossFit movement.”

“Black Period” of Anti-Doping

In June, Dr. Patrick Schamasch, the chairman of the anti-doping committee, summarized the current state of anti-doping in the world and referred to it as a “Black Period.”

2015 Statistics included Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) and Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) from 115 countries.

The IWF was the first federation and one of the very few that still use extra methods and analysis to detect long-term presence of stanozolol.  

There have been 1205 doping controls (Drug tests) performed leading up to the Penang meeting in October.

  • 688 Male (57%) & 517 Female (43%)
  • 402 Out of Competition (OOC) (33%) & 803 in-competition (IC) (67%)
  • Representing 111 countries
  • Most OOC testing occurred in Europe, least occurred in Africa where none was performed
  • Most IC testing occurred with athletes from the Pan-American Region.
  • Most popular substance tested for was Meldonium. Followed by Clenbuterol, Stanozolol and Methyl-Androstan, Hydroxystanozolol.

In Rio, 152 drug testing analysis were performed. Half of which (76 tests) were in competition testing while the other half were out of competition testing. Of the 76 tests for both in and out of competition, 15 tests consisted of blood testing, while the other 61 consisted of urine testing.


In June, the IWF increased their reserve funds from $10 million to $15 million.

In October they verified that thanks to the Olympic Games, they had a revenue surplus of $2.3 million greater than expected. This was driven by $1.8 million less in expenses than they budgeted for.

2017 expected revenues are $3.8 million, which is in line with their long term projections.

2017 Revenue sources are:

  • $1.25 million from TV & marketing rights
  • $1.27 million from IOC revenue
  • $167,000 from AD revenue – fines not included

2017 Top Expenses are:

  • $1.775 million in Development & Education
  • $1.0 million in AD activities
  • $1.7 million in office overhead between Budapest & Lausanne (office, staff, facilities, etc.)

Competitions and Rule Changes

The Coaching and Research Committee of the IWF acknowledged cases where national and international competitions have different minimum ages of competitors. For instance the youth minimum age to compete is 13 years of age, while the junior and senior age groups have a minimum age to compete of 15 years old. However, nation to nation these ages are not always the same and the IWF is planning to gather data to study this.

[NOTE: Biological age means that January 1st you are in the next year of your life, even if your birthday is not until December. For example, my birthday is June 24, 1984 — as of today I am in my 33rd year as far as IWF competition is concerned, however I will not be 33 years old until June 24, 2017.]

The IWF is looking into changing the format of World Championship events, where C or lower sessions would occur first during the week. Then the meetings would take place, and the B and A sessions would finish the week of competition.

The IWF also discussed delegating an official commentator for the World Championships on a television broadcast. The Coaching and Research Committee supported forming a committee  to discuss the IWF delegating an official commentator for TV during the world weightlifting championships.

[NOTE: This sounds somewhat similar to the webcast that ESPN provided online via for the 2015 World Championships or Eurosport and NBC’s webcast of the Olympic Games.]

Islamic Games

In September, Mr. Attila Adamfi, IWF Director General, presented the case of the 2017 Islamic Games to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. He encouraged the Executive Board to have a position in case the Azerbaijan suspension is in force by the time of the Games (to avoid weightlifting being removed from the program of the Games).

The Executive Board decided that if Azerbaijan is suspended at the time of the games, the IWF will give full assistance to the organizing committee to carry out the competition.

Achievements of the Rio Olympic Games

This was the first time that the ratio of male to female Technical Officials (TOs) was 50/50. There was also a female president of the jury. This was the first Olympic Games where all Executive Board members attended the event.

Iran Apologizes

In October, IWF president Dr. Tamas Ajan welcomed Mr. Ali Moradi, the president of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation, to apologize to the IWF on behalf of athlete Behdad Salimi and Coach Sajjad Anoushirawani for the fault committed during the 105+ KG competition at the Olympic Games. The IWF accepted the apology and consider the matter closed. They also called for Moradi to personally apologize to Jury President Mr. Karl Rimböck for his threatening behavior.

Medal Redistribution

In March, Dr. Christian Baumgartner called for stricter rules about recuperation of medals to be reallocated from disqualified athletes. IWF director Attila Adamfi has said that event organizers are producing extra sets of medals in anticipation of eventual redistribution in the case of disqualified athletes.

[NOTE: Under current policy, when an athlete is disqualified from a competition and loses results — including a medal — the federation of that athlete is responsible with obtaining the medal from the athlete and sending to the IWF. The IWF then is responsible with working with all other federations who have athletes who will be affected in medal reallocation. So, for example they would need to collect the bronze medal from an athlete who is now positioned to be the new silver medalist, followed by shipping that athlete’s new silver medal.]  

Featured image: IWF Executive Board from the most recent meeting and Congress in Penang, Malaysia, October 2016. Photo via IWF website.