On April 15, 2021, USA Powerlifting (USAPL) posted on Instagram, revealing issues they have with the International Powerlifting Federation’s (IPF’s) 2021 anti-doping policy. For context, the IPF is the international powerlifting governing body USAPL operates under. According to the Instagram post, USAPL says that the IPF mandates that “all nations, at every level” managed by the IPF be compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
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According to USAPL, all testing must happen through WADA and that federation under the IPF. According to USAPL’s post, federations don’t have input into who is tested and are not notified of any therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). In their post, USAPL outlined the major ways they believe this impacts their organization:
- Testing costs: USAPL claims that the cost per test will increase 20-fold, severely limiting the number of tests they can administer. They say this new mandate will result in USAPL’s testing numbers dropping from 2,500 annual tests to 200 across 400-plus competitions.
- TUE Processing: “Therapeutic use exemptions will be processed that may be counter to USA Powerlifting guidelines, for example, testosterone supplementation,” USAPL wrote in the caption of its post. “We will not be notified of those TUEs, and those using substances banned by USA Powerlifting will be declared eligible to compete. In short, or efforts to maintain a clean platform will be rendered obsolete.”
- Records: “Records will not be tested unless they are included in the test plan designed and implemented by outside agencies. They [the IPF and WADA] do not accept our input.”
- Finances: According to USAPL, the new cost of testing will “take approximately 50% of our cash reserves the first year… It is unclear if we can meet those costs in succeeding years even if we do not maintain cash reserves.”
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Founded in 1972, the IPF has 133 member federations (as of April 7, 2021) and is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code. According to their website:
“The IPF Anti-Doping Rules [effective on Jan. 1, 2021] apply to the IPF, to each of its Regional Federations, National Federations, Athletes, Athlete Support Personnel and other Persons, each of whom are deemed, as a condition of their membership, accreditation and/or participation in the sport of powerlifting to have agreed to be bound by these Anti-Doping Rules.”
USAPL and the IPF haven’t always seen eye to eye. In April of 2020, USAPL filed a complaint with the IPF Court of Justice for the IPF not recognizing USAPL world records set at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival — such as Ashton Rouska’s 331.5-kilogram squat and 880.9-kilogram total in the 93-kilogram weight class. The IPF says that USAPL and the North American Powerlifting Federation did not seek sanction from the IPF. (For a world record to stand, it must be done at an IPF sanctioned competition.)
On Feb. 15, 2021, USAPL revealed that their appeal against the IPF will move to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
This story is developing, and this article will be updated as more information surfaces. BarBend has reached out to the IPF for comment. They have yet to respond at the time this article was written.
Featured image: @theipf on Instagram