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Tragic news: Dr Shimon Barak dies at 59

It is with the deepest sorrow that we have to announce the premature death of Dr. Shimon Barak, Israel.

A former Olympian weightlifter and survivor of the 1972 Munich terrorist attack, Shimon Barak became the key player in Israel’s new era of weightlifting. He put life into the Israeli Weightlifting Federation and gave a new meaning to its activities by leading his country back to the International Weightlifting Community through affiliation with the European Federation.

His activities as a weightlifting lecturer, referee and official soon developed international scale and he was elected to the IWF Executive Board and in the Scientific and Research Committee from 1992 up to 2009. He chaired the IWF Medical Committee during two terms and served on the IWF Anti-Doping Hearing Panel on numerous occasions. He served as a Technical Official at Olympic Games, Youth Olympics, the Universiade and countless World Championships.

A born coach and teacher, Dr. Barak was also a strong believer in sports education and education through sports. He was the Director of the Sports School at Tel Aviv University. He organised and hosted the first ever IWF University World Championships in 1998 in Tel Aviv – thus starting a beautiful era in academic weightlifting. At the same time, he realized the role and used the wonderful potential of sports to abolish animosity and create peace, understanding and friendship between nations, peoples or different religious groups. In that spirit, he regularly organised in Israel the Friendship Games’, a basketball tournament between university teams. Symbolically, the last major event that was held in Israel under his baton was the 3rd FISU World University Weightlifting Championships in Eilat, the crossroads of three countries and different worlds and cultures.

Dr. Shimon Barak was the incarnation of the Sportsman: active, athletic, strong in mind and body and a fearless champion of Fair Play; and at the same time, also a Man of Honour, a Family Man and a True Friend.

His accomplishments were plenty yet his oeuvre was far from being finished. He fought bravely for a year before at the incredibly young age of 59 years he finally lost the game against the cruel disease, cancer.

The IWF and the Weightlifting Family mourn his untimely departure and share the grief of his Family. Dr. Shimon Barak’s  dear memory will live with us forever.