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IWF Congress: Unity of the weightlifting family allows unanimous approval of revised Constitution and new Strategic Plan

The IWF lived an extraordinary moment of unity on September 12, on the occasion of its Congress in Riyadh (KSA), the host city of the 2023 IWF World Championships. Two main documents for the future of the International Federations were approved by unanimity: the 2024-2032 IWF Strategic Plan, and the revision of the IWF Constitution. 


At the end of the gathering, the IWF President Mohammed Jalood highlighted the importance of the moment: “We showed a great determination to continue building a great future for weightlifting. I am very thankful for the positive spirit of our Member National Federations in the five continents, which clearly know what our priorities are: remain a strong partner in the Olympic movement, reinforce the principles of good governance, and ensure all is done to keep our sport clean”.

Mohammed Jalood, IWF President

Concerning the first-ever IWF Strategic Plan, it received unanimous support, with 114 delegates validating this essential roadmap in the life of the IWF. 


“This Plan resulted from a profound reflection on what is the IWF today and what it should be in the years to come. A transparent, honest, and realistic discussion took place within the weightlifting family – and this diagnosis is the starting point for what comes next. And from now on, what and how shall we develop? How to modernise our organisation? How to adapt it to the 21st-century requirements, in a very competitive international sports environment?” considered Pedro Adrega, the IWF Interim CEO and Chair of the Working Group in charge of the elaboration of this document.


Mr Adrega then summarised each of the four pillars of the Strategic Plan. “The first one is the most obvious one – Athletes. The second pillar is also quite straightforward – Events. The third pillar aims at keeping the IWF safe. And finally, the fourth pillar looks at reaching the best results beyond the IWF”.


Considering that this is only “the first stone in an enormous building”, the also IWF Communications and Marketing Manager made a strong appeal to all delegates present in the room: “But we must not be complacent. The competition is hard. Many new sports want to enter the Olympic club and we cannot rest on our laurels. We cannot take our position for granted. We need to fight – every day, in every action we plan and do. We need to strive for excellence, for great performances, as our athletes do all the time. Let’s get inspired by them, by their devotion to the Sport they love. We have now an additional, important tool to help us do things well. Let’s do them, together, in a spirit of unity, solidarity, and mutual support!” Mr Adrega finalised.

Pedro Adrega, IWF Interim CEO and Communications Manager

For the Constitution, the support was even more substantial, with a total of 139 positive votes, a unanimous validation of the document. For a successful revision of this document, a 75% majority was needed: it reached 85.2% of the IWF full members. 


The update of the IWF Constitution (approved in August 2021) included a formal review of the text, in order to simplify the reading and understanding of its content. Specific amendments clarify membership procedures of National Member Federations, the regulation of continental and regional associations, the call for ordinary, special and electoral congresses, the revised quorum for approval of constitutional changes (from 3/4 to 2/3 of the members), the separation in the functions of the General Secretary and the Treasurer, precisions regarding the terms of office (namely for Executive Board ex-officio members), and updates on the appointment of the CEO. 

Members of the IWF Strategic Plan Working Group: Besim Hasani, Maria Cseresnyes, Pedro Adrega, Hidilyn Diaz, Helga Hakonardottir and Attila Adamfi

“We have now a Constitution that is more adapted to the modern functioning of our Federation. We haven’t changed any substantial aspect related to good governance mechanisms, we have simply added some precisions to facilitate their implementation,” concluded a “very happy” IWF President at the end of the Congress.


The IWF Congress also approved the 2022 IWF Audited Financial Statements, and all the activity reports from the several IWF Committees and Commissions: Technical, Medical, Coaching and Research, Development and Education Programme, and Athletes. 


On the Anti-Doping activities, Benjamin Cohen, Director General of the International Testing Agency (ITA) made a short presentation on the “successful partnership with the IWF”. Mr Cohen underlined the excellent level of co-operation between the two entities – the ITA is managing the entirety of the IWF anti-doping activities – and expressed his hope that in the future “the IWF can progressively reduce the enormous part of its budget dedicated to the fight against doping. These resources could certainly be used for additional Development activities”.


Finally, several personalities connected to the world of weightlifting were awarded by the IWF. The Collar was given to Ursula Papandrea (USA), Sam Coffa (AUS), Craig Walker (CAN), Intarat Yodbangtoey (THA), and Chang Chao-Kuo (TPE), while the Hall of Fame distinction went to Kyle Pierce (USA) and Sabah Abdi Abdulah (IRQ, posthumous). 


IWF Communications


Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia