IWF EB Meeting in Riyadh: Another successful step forward!
Under the leadership of President Mohammed Jalood, the IWF Executive Board (EB) had a two-day meeting on September 10-11, on the occasion of a very successful 2023 edition of the IWF World Championships, taking place in Riyadh (KSA).
Welcoming his EB colleagues, Mr Jalood underlined that this is a “very decisive moment in the history of our International Federation, on the eve of the IOC decision related to the 2028 Olympic Games programme”. The IWF President then recalled that “the weightlifting family is working united for the development of the sport, as much progress has been seen since the election of the EB in June 2022”. The staging of the 2023 IWF showcase in Riyadh was cited as a good example of “how the IWF improved the organisation of its events. The bar was set very high here – we have a record number of athletes and participating countries, in a very beautiful venue. The Saudi authorities have produced a great show and have ensured the best possible conditions to all participants in these Championships, a mandatory competition for all those aspiring to compete in Paris next year at the Olympic Games”.
Mr Mohammed Al-Harbi, EB member and President of the Riyadh 2023 Organising Committee welcomed all his colleagues in Saudi Arabia and expressed his gratitude for the “IWF’s trust in awarding this so important competition to Riyadh”. Mr Al-Harbi then highlighted the “amazing efforts” of all authorities to ensure participants could enter the country. “Some delegations had some challenges in getting their visa, but at the end of the day, thanks to our effort and determination, they could be present and compete here”.
The main decisions and discussions at the IWF Executive Board meeting were:
– Unanimous validation of the final draft 2024-2032 IWF Strategic Plan, pending the official approval by the IWF Congress. This fundamental roadmap results from the broadest-ever consultation within the IWF Family, thus being a collective and consensual document, highlighting the main areas of attention and the necessary actions to implement them. Moreover, the Working Group in charge of the elaboration of this Plan will be kept in place, from now on as the Strategic Plan Monitoring Group;
– The Chair of the IWF Anti-Doping Commission, Mr Rune Andersen, announced that the pre-Olympic testing programme is on “the right track” and that the categorisation of National Member Federations will be enforced from November 1, 2023. According to this categorisation, IWF members will be included in three different groups, taking into account their doping history and many other criteria related to their national anti-doping strategy. For the nations in the A group, a minimum of two out-of-competition tests will be mandatory for eligible athletes for the Paris Games, while educational anti-doping courses are also compulsory; in the B group, the requirements include one test per athlete and optional education; countries in C group won’t need to fulfil any special requirements. The list of countries in each category is to be announced in October by the International Testing Agency (ITA);
Mohammed Jalood (IWF President) and Ursula Papandrea (IWF First Vice-President)
– Approval of a Working Group in charge of the implementation of the Gender Identity Policy. The first competition to be covered by these guidelines will be the IWF World Junior Championships, to be held in November in Guadalajara (MEX);
– The IWF Technical Committee also presented its recommendations, which include the implementation of a new, more modern TIS system, and the eventual creation of athlete’s qualification quotas at the IWF World Championships;
– Unanimous ratification of the 2022 IWF Audited Financial Statements, pending the final approval of the IWF Congress;
– Related to the Development Programme, and in co-operation with the Olympic Solidarity, a training camp with 10 young athletes (one male/one female per continent) is to be held in Mexico, prior to the staging of the IWF World Junior Championships in November. Moreover, a new update on the Coaches Licence Programme was also given to EB members – in Europe, a pilot programme will, for example, involve 300 coaches from 43 nations. Finally, new criteria and standards will be created to implement the IWF Academies – a project that is presently involving three universities in three continents (Americas – Cuba; Asia – China; Europa – Bulgaria);
Forrester Osei (IWF Athletes Commission Chair)
– The IWF Athletes Commission (AC) successfully presented its ideas concerning the reinforcement of the resources and number of lifters involved in the second “edition” of the “Direct Support Programme”, starting after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Moreover, the AC is studying the future implementation of an Athlete Transition Programme, aimed at supporting lifters after the conclusion of their competitive career;
– The EB also praised the success of the IWF Refugee Team programme, launched in 2023, which allowed the participation of three athletes at the IWF World Championships here in Riyadh. Two lifters from the team will also be invited to take part in the EWF Cup, taking place at the end of September in Ancient Olympia (GRE);
– Concerning the specific preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, Matthew Curtain and Moira Lassen, IWF Technical Delegates to the competition, underlined the importance of attending the Operational Test Event in August. Also on this topic, the EB approved the Terms of Reference and the members of the Commission in charge of analysing the submissions related to exemptions based on exceptional circumstances (as stipulated in the Qualification Rules for the 2024 Olympics). Out of the five members of the Commission, three (with voting rights) were recommended by the International Testing Agency, while the two IWF representatives have no voting rights within the Commission;
– The EB also approved a temporary committee to study the creation of a regional francophone organisation, gathering the nations having French as one of their official languages;
– Updated reports were given by the organisers of the upcoming IWF events: IWF World Junior Championships (Guadalajara, MEX – November 2023); IWF World Cup (Phuket, THA – April 2024); IWF World Youth Championships (Lima, PER – May 2024); IWF World Junior Championships (Leon, ESP – September 2024); IWF World Championships (Manama, BRN – December 2024). Two of the highlights from these presentations include the Green Legacy Programme implemented by the Guadalajara hosts, whereby each participating athlete in the competition will plant a tree, which will be named after him/her, and the use in Lima, for the first time in an IWF event, of two competition platforms.
The IWF EB meeting precedes the gathering of the IWF’s National Member Federations at the IWF Congress, to be held also in the Saudi capital on September 12, 2023. Practical procedures related to the running of the Congress were also discussed at the Executive Board meeting.
Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia