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Hein Verbruggen: The IWF should face the problem of headcount

Hein Verbruggen was re-elected for another four-year term as President of SportAccord this April in London. He was among the VIP guests of the IWF who visited the competition and presented medals to the winners.

Q: What was the reason of your “just a day long” trip to Paris?

A: You know I travel a lot, recently I was at the rugby World Cup in New Zealand, than I visited korfball World Championships in China and now I am here. What I really want to do is obviously observing how it goes with weightlifting a year before the Games. I appreciate enormously that I am able to attend the World Championships where I found enthusiastic public, high level competition and really amazing atmosphere. I must add these championships are pretty well presented on television as well.

Q: How can SportAccord support the so called smaller sports compared to soccer, track and field, swimming, etc.?

A: Swimming, cycling, running these are basic things that everyday people do very often. What about the specialized sports? They are bounded to certain groups of countries, like weightlifting is very popular in many Asian and Eastern European countries. The IWF has the challenge to make the sport more and more popular outside these basic areas as well. I like to help this work very much. We study what we can do to promote this sport. We offer to the Federations YouTube to promote their sport, they can deliver us the footage and we put it on the internet. It is important there is diversification in sports and in this respect we will continue to help all Federations. If there is a sport recognized by us there is no difference between them. So there we go.

Q: Let us talk focusing on weightlifting. This sport is led by Dr. Tamás Aján, IWF President since 2000. He introduced lot of novelties and his wish for further development is obvious. What future do you predict to weightlifting?

A: Asking question about Tamás Aján it automatically leads you to answer: you have to give this man an enormous credit for what he does for weightlifting for a long time. He is a good friend, very straightforward, decent person who was elected president of the IWF 11 years ago.
You know, sport has also to be modernized. A huge number of lifters are here giving a big challenge for the organizers. It is difficult to find cities or regions which can handle so many athletes. The IWF has perhaps found the solution for that – to be a little bit more restrictive. It is difficult to get to this point. It is a hard job to find cities especially in the Western Hemisphere with all the financial resources to organize an event of such magnitude. I think the IWF must face the problem of headcount soon.