On October 14th, Chair of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athlete Commission Sarah Davies started a petition to “help push for a vote of no confidence of the IWF Executive Board” in response to their decision to remove Ursula Papandrea from her position as IWF Interim President.
The petition sought 7,500 signatures. As of 2:50pm EST on October 15th, the petition secured its signature goal and it has since been stretched to a new goal of 10,000 signatures.
IWF Executive Board have made decisions which jeopardize our sport.
Davies took to her Instagram page to further spread the word of the petition:
View this post on Instagram
Controversy erupted earlier this week after an IWF Executive Board emergency meeting called by Nicu Vlad of Romania. At the meeting, board members voted to oust Papandrea, which they claimed camee in response to a virtual press conference with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on October 7th. In that conference, Bach stated that the IOC reserved the right to remove weightlifting from the 2024 Paris Olympic Games altogether if concerns regarding progress within IWF’s governance we not alleviated. Those concerns were primarily surrounding constitutional reform within the IWF.
Papandrea, who was not present at the aforementioned emergency meeting, assumed the Interim Presidency earlier this year after former IWF President Dr. Tamas Aján stepped down amidst allegations of financial corruption and doping cover-ups charged by the German documentary “Secret Doping — Lord of the Lifters”.
Professor Richard H. McLaren was appointed by the IWF Executive Committee to conduct an independent investigation which corroborated Ajan’s financial corruption as a “tyranny of cash” as well as his involvement in coordinated election fraud.
The IWF Executive Board tapped Intarat Yodbangtoey of Thailand — a country banned from weightlifting competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to doping violations — to replace Papandrea. Intarat’s tenure was short lived as he has since stepped down amidst strong backlash to the IWF Executive Board’s decision to remove Papandrea. Dr. Mike Irani of Great Britain has assumed the role of the Interim President.
On the petition’s page, Davies points out several other areas of dispute that support the rationale for a vote of no confidence of the IWF Executive Board:
- IWF Executive Board members whose countries have been banned or had their quotas reduced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games maintaining their positions.
- Only two of the 21 board members being female.
- Lack of athlete representation at that emergency meeting.
- Lack of athlete representation on the IWF Executive Board.
- Lack of constitutional voting right for athletes.
Davies was also displeased with the appointment of Sam Coffa — one of the authors of the current IWF constitution — to the IWF Executive Board.
We do not believe they have the athletes or the future of the sport at the forefront of their decision making.
The petition will be presented “to the IOC on behalf of all athletes involved in the sport of weightlifting.”
Feature image from Sarah Davies’ Instagram page: @sarahd_gb