News and Media


MEDIA RELEASE in regard to weightlifting competition costumes


(Penang, MAS) The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) demonstrated its progressive strength today during the Junior World Championships by presenting alternatives to its traditional competition costumes.  The newly approved competition costume modification promotes and enables a more inclusive sport environment and breaks down barriers to participation.

The IWF’s Technical Committee, chaired by IWF Vice President Sam Coffa of Australia, reviewed a proposal from the United States Olympic Committee and the USA Weightlifting Federation in relation to Muslim female athlete competition wear.  “The Committee continually reviews its technical sport rules as directed by its quadrennial work plan.”  Coffa declares “This issue was on our radar so we thank the USOC and our member Federation for prompting it and look forward to having increased global participation from removing this barrier”

The modified rule changes permits athletes to wear a one piece full body tight fitted “unitard” under the compulsory weightlifting costume.   The “unitard” will enable technical officials to effectively adjudicate areas of the body which are essential to the correct execution of the lift.  “As far as wearing coverings on the athletes head, such as the hijab, the sport of Olympic Weightlifting has always allowed this.”  Coffa notes “Our rules simply mandate that the athlete cannot touch the head with the barbell; if the barbell touches the covering, it is considered to be part of the head.”

“Weightlifting is an Olympic Sport open for all athletes to participate without discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, age, or national origin in accordance with the principles of the Olympic Charter and values.”  states Dr Tamas Ajan, IWF President and Honorary IOC member  “This rule modification has been considered in the spirit of fairness, equality and inclusion.”  


The new IWF Competition Costume rule modifications are effective immediately.  

For more information, contact:
Ms Aniko Nemeth-Mora
Director and Chief of Protocol
+0164090029 (Penang, MAS until July 8, 2011)