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End of Year Message – Dr. Michael Irani, IWF Interim President

Frankly, 2020 has been a difficult year. 2021 promises to be better, but huge efforts will continue to have to be made to ensure this proves to be the case.

I do not propose to review everything that has happened at, and to, the IWF over the past year, since much of it was under the leadership of others. The past 10 weeks, however, have seen us call Constitutional and Electoral Congresses. We have extended our partnership with the ITA until 2024, and empowered it to investigate allegations made by Professor McLaren and by WADA.

We have created a Disciplinary and Ethics Committee composed of independent experts which is already almost operational. We have also added independent experts to the Reform and Governance Commission, including as chair. As that Commission presses ahead towards the 22 January deadline for the presentation of a new constitution and bylaws, it is making remarkable progress.

Consultations have been widespread and they will continue. Thank you to the 13 national federations who have contributed ideas. And thank you to those who have already completed the survey that you can also find here. I would encourage you all to submit your ideas without further delay.

The athlete’s voice will be key among those listened to, as will those who decide our Olympic fate. For me, the lowest point of this year as far as the IWF is concerned came when the IOC decided to heavily cut the proposed medals and places available for weightlifters at Paris 2024. Young weightlifters will have been deprived of opportunities through no fault of their own, but by the cheating and malfeasance of others. We must be determined to do better.

We should also be under no illusion as to the hard work that lies ahead and the obstacles we must overcome. For example, we must make arrangements so that the Congresses can take place regardless of travel restrictions. We will also need widespread cooperation. For example, Professor McLaren has yet to release the second part of his report to the ITA, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission or the independent members of the Reform and Governance Commission, despite being asked to do so.

I am confident the obstacles can be overcome, despite the ambitious nature of the scope of work we have established and the deadlines we have set.

It is vital, too, that we move ahead with planning for the success of the remaining Olympic qualifying events and for the success of the weightlifting competition of the Olympic Games themselves. Tokyo 2020 clearly has the chance to serve as a shining beacon of hope and a true celebration of humanity. We owe it to our weightlifters to ensure the opportunities we provide them are worthy of their dedication.

Please allow me to take a moment to express my gratitude to you for the way you have continued to serve weightlifters, despite the hardships of this last year. You have shown great resilience and creativity in doing so, and I am sure your efforts will pay dividends in the form of strong performances at the competitions we all look forward to returning to.

Please allow me to also thank the IWF staff, who have continued to work steadfastly despite almost overwhelming difficulty.

For some of us, the deadlines we have set for reform mean a busy end of year. I do hope, however, that you all have the chance to enjoy some special time with your loved ones in the coming weeks. Please accept my very best wishes for a Happy New Year.