News and Media


Acting President’s Message

Dear IWF Athletes, Coaches, Member Federations, contributors and supporters to the sport of weightlifting,

Ms Ursula Garza Papandrea, IWF Acting President

I would like to preface this message with my well wishes to all weightlifting athletes. I know you are facing extraordinary challenges in a sport that is already laden with arduous demands. I hope everyone is able to continue to train and stay active but more important than anything, maintain their good health.

As previously posted on the IWF news, our long serving President Dr. Tamas Ajan has resigned as President. For 44 years, more than half of his life, he gave his time and effort towards the success of weightlifting. It is incumbent upon us to be grateful for his service. To demonstrate that gratitude, he has been given the title Honorary Ambassador of Weightlifting.

Your IWF Executive Board has been very busy preparing for the major changes that will lead us into 2021. The Board has made a variety of decisions to ensure for a successful transition and a new direction for our future. We have also been resolving some of the immediate concerns.

Regarding the Olympic Games Qualification System, the IWF Executive Board has approved modifications in accordance with the International Olympic Committee Olympic Games Qualification guidelines. We await approval, but the rationale for the modifications was to restore the qualification system as it currently existed prior to the effects of COVID 19 and to ensure delivery of clean sport in the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in 2021.

One of the main concerns and topics of discussion has been the welfare of each other and the member federations around the world and of course, the athletes. After a series of discussions and input, the Executive Board jointly and overwhelmingly decided to combine the encumbered special projects fund with the development fund to increase the amount of funding available via the development fund.

Additionally, we included a new category for COVID 19 related costs in the development program. The application deadline has also been extended to make these funds available to countries who have not yet applied. This distribution of funds in the COVD 19 category will be vetted by the Medical Committee chair and carried out by the Development Committee. Please be on the lookout for an email from the Development Committee and a NEW application reflecting this funds request category.

Mr Phil Andrews, Deputy Director General

On April 22, McLaren Global Sports Solutions delivered an interim report to the entire Executive Board. Their investigation continues and needs your cooperation to be fully successful in achieving correct conclusions. Information can be anonymously given at your discretion on the following The final report will be delivered on June 4, 2020.
A major decision made by your Executive Board, in order to provide stability and continuity, is that I will retain the position as IWF Acting President until the next IWF Electoral Congress. To aid in conducting a successful transition and to fill key positions in the Lausanne based Secretariat, the Executive Board hired Phil Andrews as Deputy Director General. We additionally created search and hiring intra-board committees for a permanent Director General (for which new DDG, Mr. Andrews, will not be eligible) and part-time Chief Financial Officer, as part of the reorganization of the IWF. We are in the process of continuing to build out a timeline for completion. I have a goal to be fully functional in Lausanne by January 2021. My intent is to create an international office to serve the membership federations and to perform our role as an IOC summer sport federation with the inclusivity, integrity and discipline that such a privilege should demand of us, and which we must require of ourselves.

Last but most important, we must continue to support the anti-doping policies and efforts that began in 2017. In a desire to decrease the perception or potential of interference by the IWF in any and all anti-doping processes, the Board has voted unanimously to hand over the appointing of all members of both the Anti-Doping Commission and the Member Federations Sanctioning Panel. Discussions and an agreement are still pending. These actions by the Board exemplify the intent and desire to achieve external and independent bodies’ involvement in our anti-doping efforts. To conclude, yesterday we signed the agreement with CAS ADD (Court of Arbitration of Sports Anti-Doping division, which is a separate Division of CAS) to hear and decide anti-doping cases as a first instance authority upon written delegation of powers from the IOC, ITA, and other WADA signatories.

My kindest regards to all. Please take care and please follow advisories to keep yourself, your teams and members safe from the virus. Please request funds as needed to do so. I send blessings and prayers and hope to hear of all maintaining good health. Athletes, please make smart decisions as we need you, you are the singular most important building block upon whose shoulders all of our successes rest, without healthy, clean and strong athletes, there is no sport.

I will continue to send you updates throughout the next few months.

Your Acting President,
Ursula Garza Papandrea