International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Mohammed Jalood said the governing body is ready to deliver its final report on a set of required reforms and hopes it has done enough to earn back its place at the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has provisionally dropped the sport from the 2028 Los Angeles Games programme following years of corruption, doping and governance scandals that led to the departure of longtime weightlifting president Tamas Ajan in 2020.
Ajan has since been banned from the sport for life as the IWF and new president Jalood, elected last year, race to push through a number of changes demanded by the IOC in relation to the federation as well as stricter doping testing.
“We must follow all the recommendations coming from the IOC,” Iraqi Jalood told Reuters in an interview. “If we follow all the recommendations from the IOC then the evaluation, believe me, will be very good for us.
“On March 30 we have an (IWF) executive board meeting. We will write the final report ... all that was done that was required from the IOC. It will be very important and we will complete the picture.”
With Games revenues every four years representing the main source of income for the federation, the IWF is largely dependent on its Olympic participation to continue operating.
Among the changes the IWF pushed through in recent months is an updated constitution, increased representation of women, as well as athletes’ presence on its governance boards, while also approving a maximum of three terms for those in charge.
Weightlifting has suffered from doping like few other sports, with Ajan ousted over allegedly covering up doping offences, a claim which he denies.
Having handed over drugs testing to the Independent Testing Agency (ITA) a few years ago, the IWF is also hoping the relentless doping headlines will be a thing of the past.
“The ITA has done a lot for us and you can see the results,” Jalood said. “In the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, zero doping (in weightlifting). The culture of many countries has completely changed.”
There had been dozens of cases of positive tests among weightlifters at the 2012 London Olympics, including many caught in the re-testing of samples after the Games.
“We increased our budget to fight against doping. We spend about 40% of our budget to fight against doping,” said Jalood.
Weightlifting will appear at the 2024 Games in Paris, though with a large cut in its athlete quota, and Jalood said the priority was ensuring it appears at each Olympics going forward.
“Weightlifting is the basic sport,” he added. “From 1896 only nine sports started, weightlifting was one of the nine sports.”
While its report will determine its Olympic future, the IWF, as all international sports federations, must also make a decision on the eligibility of Russian and Belarusian athletes for Paris next year.
The IOC sanctioned Russia and Belarus after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 but is now reluctant to exclude them from Paris for fear of a return to the boycotts of the Cold War era.
It has set out a pathway for these competitors to earn Olympic slots through Asian qualifying and left the international federations to decide how to organise it.
“My opinion is that not each federation gives its opinion. We need to share ideas with the IOC and all federations, to be united,” Jalood said. “That all federations go the same direction with the IOC in unity.
“If we all work and share the ideas we will reach a very good solution for all.”
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