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IWF and EWF launch international Coaches Licence programme

Coaches will not be able to work in the sport without a licence when a new programme comes into operation after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and will be held more responsible for doping violations.

National Federations will also be required to sign up to the programme, which was launched on a pilot basis in Sweden this weekend and will be used for the first time at the European Championships in Armenia next month.

Mohammed Jalood, the IWF President, told a gathering of more than 70 international coaches in Halmstad, via a video link, “Coaches must understand that in future if there is a problem with doping they will be punished too, not only the athlete.

“If there is a doping problem we can withdraw certification.

“The licence project is for the future, to make weightlifting better.”

Jalood said athletes always turned first to their “father figure” coach, a point emphasised by the IWF general secretary Antonio Urso

Speaking in Halmstad, at a seminar hosted by the equipment manufacturer Eleiko, Urso said, “The coach has the responsibility of the entire process of an athlete’s development, not just technically but in the human area.

“In a big company – and the IWF is like a big company – if you want to invest in the future you must educate your managers, and that is what we are doing with coaches.”

Asked if coaches should have more of a voice in weightlifting, Urso said, “It is a good idea to have a coaching representative on the executive board and we will be discussing it in Albania (at the World Youth Championships beginning on March 25) with a view to writing it into our new constitution.”

The coaching licence scheme will be used by the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) at two of its competitions in April and July, before the final policy is sent for approval to lawyers, the IWF Executive Board and then the IWF Congress in Saudi Arabia in September.

Coaches would need support from their National Federation to be registered and once the scheme is operational from 2025, they would have to undergo tests to gain a licence in one of four categories from club to international standard.

Federations will also be required to give full details of athletes’ coaches at their national championships, and the IWF will build a database to track their progress.

Under current plans, the licence will be renewable every four years, and any coach who does not have support from their National Federation would not be able to work in international weightlifting

Colin Buckley, the chair of the EWF coaching and research committee who has worked on the plan for years, said, “We won’t have coaches appearing out of nowhere in future.

“We will be able to see who is registered, who is accredited, who is starting out on the coaching journey.

“This is a very big step for National Federations to say yes, we take responsibility, yes we play our part in taking our sport in a new direction.”

To make things clear, Buckley highlighted the definition of education as far as WADA is concerned: “To raise awareness, inform, communicate, to instil values, develop life learning skills and decision-making capability to prevent intentional and unintentional anti-doping rule violations.”

The licence will not be all about anti-doping, said Buckley: it will ensure that all licensed coaches reach minimum standards – “just like they do in football, rugby, judo and other sports from which we have learned in drawing up the programme” – and it will provide a coaching pathway.

“We can no longer just assume a coach has a certain level of knowledge and competence,” he said.

“It will no longer be just about what coaches need to know, it will be about what they must do.

“This is a very big step for national federations to say yes, we take responsibility, yes we play our part in taking our sport in a new direction.”

By Brian Oliver, from Inside the Games

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Weightlifting section at Inside the Games