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IWF Congress concludes ahead of record-breaking IWF World Championships

The IWF Congress took place in Pattaya today with representatives from 100 Member Federations in attendance to hear updates on the latest IWF activities and contribute their ideas and feedback.

The full agenda included updates from each of the IWF Committees and Commissions as well as progress reports on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and upcoming IWF World Championships at Senior, Junior and Youth level.

IWF President Tamas Ajan said:

“It is always a great honour to host the IWF Congress and welcome our colleagues from around the world. It is during our Congress and World Championships that you can get a sense of what a global and widely-loved sport, weightlifting truly is.

“We had a very full agenda at today but it was greatly encouraging to hear of all the fantastic work that our Committees and Commissions are doing across all areas of our sport. The last few years have seen significant enhancements across many areas of weightlifting, particularly in the strengthening of our anti-doping programme, which has been recognised by WADA and the IOC. But we know there is always room for improvement. We have many planned reforms and innovations that we heard about today that will further improve our sport and many excellent events to look forward to. Working together with all our members we have a very excited future ahead.”

One of the most important updates at the Congress came from the IWF Anti-Doping Commission who reported that more than 1,100 in-competition tests have been conducted this year on athletes from 89 countries, using a number of different world-class sample collection authorities. The Commission noted a decline in the number of ineligible athletes at their events and encouraged all Member Federations to promote #iLiftCLEAN e-learning platform. The International Testing Agency (ITA) Director General Benjamin Cohen reported that more than 550 out-of-competition tests have been conducted this year by ITA, on athletes from more than 50 nations. Cohen also revealed that WADA had expressed its satisfaction with the IWF’s anti-doping programme following its audit over the summer.

The IWF Development and Education Commission noted that all of its funding had been distributed through the 2019 IWF Development Programme with 71% of the Member Federations that applied for funding receiving it this year. The Commission also revealed plans for two pioneering University courses – International Sports Law and Administration Masters and Weightlifting Training Masters – which will significantly enhance knowledge and expertise within the weightlifting family.

An update was provided on the IWF’s progress in good governance. IWF Director General Attila Adamfi explained the critical importance of good governance being at the heart of all the IWF’s operations and expressed the federation’s pledge to improving its score in the next ASOIF Governance Review. Good governance is crucial for all IWF stakeholders and Adamfi reported on the comprehensive external evaluation that has been conducted into the Continental Federations’ governance, using the same principles applied by ASOIF. The IWF aims to also provide guidelines for Member Federations.

The Technical Committee presented on the importance of the introduction of Video Playback Technology to ensure correct officiating, which drew praise from IOC Member Ivan Dibos. The Medical Committee reiterated the importance of protecting the health and welfare of the athletes and urged Member Federations to ensure only qualified medical practitioners treated athletes. An update was also given on the IWF’s approach to transgender athletes which it confirmed would remain unchanged until after Tokyo 2020. The Coaching and Research Committee spoke of plans to establish development officers within each Continental Federation to ensure projects were tailored specifically to each continent.

A report on the 2019 IWF budget was presented, with it explained that revenues were higher than originally budgeted. The budget for 2020 is set to be very positive due to the impact of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The IWF’s commitment to anti-doping was further reinforced by the fact that 40% of the IWF’s total revenue is spent on anti-doping.

The Membership Commission reported that three countries – British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and St Lucia – had applied for provisional membership demonstrating the ever-growing popularity of weightlifting. The Women’s Commission informed the Congress of the progress that has been made in promoting gender equality but outlined that further steps are required to increase female representation in executive positions. Special congratulations was reserved for the Member Federation of Iran which has sent female athletes to this year’s World Championships for the first time.

An update was given on the weightlifting at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the success of the Qualification System which has strengthened anti-doping and stimulated athletes to compete in broader number of events.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Peace and Sport, who encouraged Member Federations to promote peace and engage in the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, and presentations from barbell manufacturers and sponsors.

The IWF Congress followed a two-day meeting of the IWF Executive Board, which took place on 15-16 September. The IWF Committees met the day before on 14 September. The IWF World Championships will take place on 18-27 September in Pattaya.