North Korea Will No Longer Host the 2018 IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships

As the International Weightlifting Federation’s Executive Board meeting came to a close, an announcement was made that North Korea will no longer host the 2018 Junior World Weightlifting Championships. Instead, the contest will be held in Uzbekistan, most likely in the capital city of Tashkent. reports:

The final decision of the IWF EB was to award the hosting rights of the 2018 IWF Junior World Championships to Uzbekistan. The Junior World Championships had originally been awarded two years ago to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

When it was first reported that Pyongyang was set to host the Junior World Championships, the decision was met with some unease in parts of the international weightlifting community. North Korea, officially titled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is one of the most politically isolated nations on Earth. Many governments across the globe consider it a totalitarian dictatorship, and the nation is considered by Human Rights Watch as “among the worst in the world” for human rights violations.

This year, the DPRK has been the subject of serious and wide-ranging criticism and controversy for firing a ballistic missile over Japan. Most recently, the DPRK’s foreign minister said that war with the United States was “inevitable.”

The IWF didn’t make any further comment about their motivations for moving the championships. The decision, though, could be especially impactful for American athletes.

The United States of America does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea — it has no embassy in Pyongyang and they have no embassy in the United States — so it was uncertain as to whether or not American athletes were going to be able to attend the 2018 World Weightlifting Championships. When it it was first announced as the home of the event, USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said that USAW “admires the IWF’s ambition to place sport before politics” and that they would “evaluate U.S. participation” in the championships.

The event’s move to Uzbekistan potentially opens up participation for a number of countries. Tashkent has been home to several high-profile international weightlifting competitions, notably the 2016 Asian Weightlifting Championships.

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.