More Weightlifting Changes Speculated for 2020 Olympics

News continues to drop about what to expect for weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Back in June, it was first reported that there would be significant changes to the weightlifting program at the 2020 Olympics. To start, total athlete participation will be reduced from 260 to 196 athletes, and there will be seven weight classes for each gender, as opposed to eight.

Today, Inside the Games reported on the latest meeting from the Sport Programme Commission (SPC), which also includes two independent advisers. This group is set to meet with the IWF Executive Board at the end of November with final changes. From this last meeting, there’s been more speculation as to how weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be radically different from Rio 2016.

Inside the Games writes, “Probable changes include the scrapping of B-groups, limiting fields to 14 athletes, cutting the maximum Olympic team size from 10 to eight and introducing new weight divisions for men and women.” In addition, there will be a new method for Olympic qualifying, which will be based on individual performance, and not national team performance.

Additionally, there will most likely be new weight classes formed in both the men and women’s categories. In the article Inside the Games writes, The SPC’s members appear to be moving towards a complete overhaul of the bodyweight categories, which have remained the same for nearly 20 years but have been changed before, most notably in 1973 and 1993. This could be partially due to the IOC’s unhappiness with the 94kg weight class, which had 10 of 49 athletes test positive during retests from 2008 and 2012.

President of the European Weightlifting Federation Antonio Urso was quoted as saying, “The IOC wants more than anything to get rid of the 94s. We cannot just remove that category and keep the others, as there would be a 20kg difference between one category and the next [85 and 105] and that is far too much.”

It’s still unclear what new weight classes will be formulated for the 2020 Olympics, but the SPC is using statistics and data to drive the changes. For example, the SPC mention that the 48kg and 53kg women’s weight classes are too similar, and that most 48kg competitors could win the 53kg weight class as well. This could result in women’s weight classes changing, along with the omission and changing of the men’s weight classes.

The next meeting with all parties involved is set for the end of November, and hopefully this will bring more clarity on what athletes should expect for the 2020 Olympics.

Feature image from @iwfnet Instagram page. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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