On April 12, 2022, British weightlifter and Tokyo Olympian Sarah Davies received a three-month competitive suspension by British Weight Lifting (BWL), preventing her from competing on behalf of BWL at any international event. As described in BWL’s press release, Davies admitted to “making comments of a discriminatory nature against a fellow athlete.”
According to BWL, Davies violated several articles of the federation’s Athlete Agreement and Code of Conduct. Their findings were corroborated by an independent arbitrator from Sport Resolutions, a third-party conflict management bureau based in the United Kingdom.
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Editor’s Note: BarBend reached out to British Weight Lifting for additional information on the matter, but the organization declined to comment further.
What It Means
BWL’s decision makes Davies, who placed fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the Women’s 64-kilogram category, ineligible to represent Great Britain in the upcoming 2022 European Weightlifting Championships (EWC) in Albania. Further, BWL publicly recommended that Davies step down from her position as Chair of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athletes Commission.
Moreover, BWL’s actions also stipulate that Davies is under “final warning” status for a period of 12 months, is required to issue a written apology to the victim, and must attend “equality, diversity, and inclusion training.”
Shortly after BWL’s publication of the sanction, Davies took to Instagram to respond to the news. Davies’ caption acknowledges her fault in the matter and confirms that she will resign from her position on the Athletes Commission.
At the time of this article’s original publication, BWL did not publicly elaborate on what “comments” Davies made to spark the investigation, nor to whom they were directed. You can read the full text of her social media statement below:
Sarah Davies’ Statement
“I am deeply remorseful that this situation has got to this, but I accept what I said was unacceptable and I am sorry to those who it upset and offended, this was never my intention with the statement. I accept the sanction from BWL and understand their reasoning.
Having worked hard for the last 18months to better the international landscape of our sport it deeply saddens me that I have had to step down from my position on the Athletes Commission. In that time I have stood for what is right for our sport and fought to keep our sport in the Olympic movement, built strong relations with the IOC and made significant change within the organisation, including having the athlete voice recognised, stepping down from this position has been the hardest part of the sanction.
I hope the work that has been started will be continued in my absence and those involved in the leadership of the sport will continue to do the right thing for future generations of weightlifters.”
Sarah Davies’ Weightlifting Career
Davies has made waves as a prominent activist on behalf of competitive weightlifters throughout the better part of the past decade. As an athlete herself, Davies has turned in some impressive results. According to the IWF’s competitive registry, Davies has competed for Great Britain in 19 international events since 2014. Some of her more prominent results include:
- 2017 Commonwealth Championships — Bronze
- 2019 British International Open — Silver
- 2021 European Weightlifting Championships — Silver
- 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games — Fifth
- 2021 World Championships — Silver
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Her removal from Great Britain’s competitive roster also displaces Davies as the pre-competition leader in the Women’s 71-kilogram category at the 2022 EWC. According to the preliminary entry list, Davies boasted a 234-kilogram entry total, four kilos higher than that of the runner-up.
With the adjustment to the sport’s competitive weight categories for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Davies declared on social media that she would be bulking up to 71 kilograms in an attempt to quality for the Games. It remains to be seen what Davies will do in the near future and whether her sanction affects her bid for Paris.
Featured Image: @sarahd_gb on Instagram