IWF Executive Board Approves Weightlifting’s New Bodyweight Categories

The International Weightlifting Federation has released their long awaited new weight classes.

In a short post entitled “New Bodyweight Categories Approved by the IWF Executive Board,” the IWF announced,

Ten (10) new bodyweight categories for women and ten (10) new categories for men were approved by the IWF Executive Board and will now be submitted to the IWF Congress for ratification. Seven (7) of each of these categories were also approved for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Without further delay, here are the new weight categories. Scroll right on the Instagram embed to see all:

Men (Junior and Senior)

Olympic Weight Classes

-61kg
-67kg
-73kg
-81kg
-96kg
-109kg
+109kg

Non-Olympic Weight Classes

-55kg
-61kg
-67kg
-73kg
-81kg
-89kg
-96kg
-102kg
-109kg
+109kg

Women (Junior and Senior)

Olympic Weight Classes

-49kg
-55kg
-59kg
-64kg
-76kg
-87kg
+87kg

Non-Olympic Weight Classes

-45kg
-49kg
-55kg
-59kg
-64kg
-71kg
-76kg
-81kg
-87kg
+87kg

[See more: How Olympic weightlifting classes have changed throughout history.]

Youth Bodyweight Categories

Men

-49kg
-55kg
-61kg
-67kg
-73kg
-81kg
-89kg
-96kg
-102kg
+102kg

Women

-40kg
-45kg
-49kg
-55kg
-59kg
-64kg
-71kg
-76kg
-81kg
+81kg

So there are now different weight classes for the Olympics, a change that might catch some fans off guard, though it isn’t unheard of in other sports. Prior to this there were eight weight classes for both men and women in and outside of the Olympics; now there are seven each for the Tokyo Olympics and ten for junior and senior athletes competing in other international competitions. (And, by extension, national competitions, though that would technically be up to each nation’s weightlifting governing body.)

A principle reason for this restructuring is because the International Olympic Committee reduced the total number of weightlifters competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to 196, compared to 260 at the Rio Olympics. This means the maximum number of weightlifting spots available for qualifying countries will drop from ten to eight (four per sex). IOC President Thomas Bach told Inside the Games that this had a lot to do with the doping controversies that have been rocking the sport in recent years, saying,

“All must remain compliant with the Olympic charter and the World Anti-Doping Code. We have sent a strong signal to weightlifting by reducing the qouta for athletes for Tokyo 2020.”

The biggest gap between weight classes before this announcement for men was eleven kilos (between the -94kg and -105kg classes) followed by nine (-85kg to -94kg), and the biggest gap between women’s classes was fifteen kilos (-75kg to -90kg).

Now, on the Olympic side, the biggest gaps are fifteen kilos (-81 to -96) and thirteen kilos (-96 to -109) on the men’s side and twelve kilos (-64 to -76) and eleven kilos (-76 to -87) for the women.

These new classes haven’t officially been ratified by the IWF congress, but it’s safe to say a lot of weightlifters around the world just changed their calorie intake.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.