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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

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. IWF Communications Photos by Giorgio

Approval of IWF Strategic Plan and further improvement of governance reform among key decisions expected in Riyadh

The IWF is set to take a number of key decisions during the upcoming Congress and Executive Board meeting in Riyadh as it pushes ahead with reforming the organisation and establishing a clear plan for a stronger future. The meetings will take place on the occasion of the IWF World Championships, which will feature around 700 athletes from 120 nations, including all 20 current world champions, as athletes compete for Paris 2024 Olympic qualification. During the IWF Congress on September 12, National Federations will vote to approve the IWF Strategic Plan 2024-2032 which was developed following the broadest-ever consultation in the sport’s history. The plan provides a roadmap for weightlifting’s global development as the IWF looks to shape a new future as a clean, athlete-centred, and well-governed modern sport. The Congress will also vote on proposed amendments to the IWF Constitution to provide better understanding and clarity, ensuring the document serves its purpose as an effective tool of governance. Ahead of the Congress, the IWF Executive Board will approve the implementation process of the Athlete Gender Identity Policy which has been in force since August 1 and aims to promote inclusion while also respecting the integrity of competitions. The EB will also approve the Terms of Reference for the IWF Safety and Integrity Officer which was recently created by the IWF to enhance athlete safeguarding. Speaking ahead of the key meetings, IWF President Mohammed Jalood said: “Riyadh will be a momentous occasion for the IWF both on and off the field of play. Over 14 days of elite competition we will celebrate the world’s very best athletes as they compete for world titles and all-important Paris 2024 qualification. And away from the competition our Congress and Executive Board will take important decisions to safeguard our athletes and deliver the strongest possible future for our sport. “The collaborative Strategic Plan 2024-2032 is critical in providing a clear framework for weightlifting and ensuring clean athletes and good governance are at the heart of our work. The implementation plan of the Athlete Gender Identity Policy and terms of IWF Safety and Integrity Officer also demonstrates our commitment to our athletes and ensuring they have an inclusive, safe, and fair environment to compete in.”

Executive Board takes important decisions for the IWF’s future

The IWF Executive Board met today (online) and approved important decisions concerning its future, namely the appointment of an Interim CEO, a new “IWF Human Rights and Non-Discrimination Policy”, a Commission to examine the applications of athletes requesting an exemption related to the Olympic Qualification for Paris 2024 and the validation of the AIN delegation for the upcoming IWF World Championships, taking place from September 4-17 in Riyadh (KSA).   In accordance with the IWF Constitution, and respecting the good governance principles, Pedro Adrega, presently the IWF Communications and Marketing Manager was appointed as the new interim CEO of the International Weightlifting Federation, until a definitive CEO can be appointed. After spending 22 years at FINA – the International Swimming Federation, now named World Aquatics -, Mr Adrega has given new dynamics to the communication strategy within the IWF and is namely chairing the working group in charge of establishing the 2024-2032 IWF Strategic Plan.   On the athletes’ side, and after having approved in recent months an “Athlete Gender Identity Policy” and appointed a Safeguarding and Integrity Officer, the IWF validated today a “Human Rights and Non-Discriminatory Policy”, which applies to all participants involved in our International Federation operations. These guidelines are to be followed by all IWF entities, but also by its commercial partners, service providers, and organisers of the IWF events. The final document was largely inspired by the IOC policy on this important matter.   Related to the Olympic qualification for Paris 2024, the IWF voted positively on the guidelines for a Commission in charge of examining the athletes’ request for an exemption related to the qualification process. According to the IWF/IOC Qualification System for the weightlifting competitions at the Olympics, a mandatory presence in some events is part of the procedure. Also in accordance with those Rules, athletes may apply for an exemption, under exceptional circumstances. The mission of the new independent Commission is to analyse and decide on those requests.    Finally, the IWF EB also approved the AIN delegation that will be present at the IWF World Championships. It includes 12 athletes, seven support personnel, and one technical official – all of them have a passport from

IWF conducts broadest-ever stakeholder consultation to shape new Strategic Plan

More than 250 members and stakeholders of the global weightlifting family have so far been consulted as part of a process to develop a first-ever Strategic Plan for the IWF. It represents the largest and widest consultation in the federation’s history and comes a year after the election of a new IWF Executive Board with a mandate to unify the global sport and reform its culture and governance. The plan will include a new IWF vision, mission and values alongside current situation analysis and a framework comprising strategic pillars and priority actions. The Strategic Plan will be a central roadmap for the future of weightlifting A final version is set to be presented for approval by the IWF Congress in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September on the sidelines of the IWF World Championships 2023. When complete, the document will provide a central roadmap for weightlifting’s global development as the IWF looks to shape a new future as a clean, athlete-centred and well-governed modern sport. Those consulted as part of the project represent a broad cross-section of weightlifting’s international community, which spans 194 countries across every continent. They range from continental associations and member federations to athletes, commercial partners and barbell suppliers. Beginning in May this year, consultation exercises have included a Member Federation survey seeking views on the sport’s priorities and road-testing of drafts with internal committees and commercial partner representatives. Key stakeholders from outside weightlifting will also be offered the chance to review and input in a future phase. The IWF Strategic Plan project is being overseen by a nine-person steering committee chaired by IWF Communications Manager Pedro Adrega. It includes the Chair and Vice Chair of the IWF Athletes Commission, Forrester Osei (GHA) and Olympic Champion Hidilyn Diaz (PHI), who is among the sport’s biggest current names. The IWF Executive Board is also represented by Vice-President Attila Adamfi, while Antonio Conflitti, President of the European Weightlifting Federation is the voice of the IWF continental associations. From the Member Federations’ side, Helga Hakonardottir presides over the Icelandic national weightlifting body. Besim Hasani, independent external advisor and former President of the Kosovo National Olympic Committee, Maria Cseresnyes, IWF Business Administration Manager, and Catherine Inkster, JTA (communication agency partnering with the IWF) representative, complete the members’ list of this working group. "Weightlifting is one of the most fundamental Olympic sports" - IWF President Mohammed Jalood Weightlifting is among the most universal and foundational Olympic sports. Practiced since ancient Greece, part of its appeal lies in its ability to connect modern audiences with the continuum of human performance. While recognising these unique assets, IWF President Mohammed Jalood emphasised the need to avoid complacency. President Jalood said: “Weightlifting is one of the most fundamental Olympic sports – practiced widely as a training activity and enshrined in the Olympic motto, Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together. “But no sport can afford to rest on its laurels in the competitive modern sports marketplace, and the IWF has been clearly tasked with setting a new course for its future. “Meaningful change in sports governance is delivered with effective work and consultation is crucial in this context to build unity of purpose.” For any media inquiry or request for additional information, please contact Pedro Adrega at

IWF Executive Board meeting in Durres (ALB)

Under the leadership of the IWF President Mohammed Jalood, a hybrid IWF Executive Board meeting took place on March 30, 2023, with most of its members attending the IWF World Youth Championships in Durres (ALB).   The main decisions taken by the IWF Executive Board include:   - Approval of the IWF Development Programme for 2023, with a total of US$650,000 being distributed by National Federations across the five continents. Special attention was given to three members recently affected by natural disasters: Ecuador, Turkey, and Syria;   - Validation of the applications received for the constitution of an IWF Refugee Team – seven athletes (four women and three men) were accepted to be part of the programme. Moreover, six coaches have shown interest in being the technical responsible for the team;   - Acknowledgement of the excellent partnership with ITA (International Testing Agency), the independent body in charge of all anti-doping operations on behalf of the IWF. The Executive Board reiterates that this is a fundamental integrity topic and that a significant part of the IWF annual budget (around 35%) is allocated to the fight against cheating in our sport. Moreover, the IWF recognises that the number of cases was dramatically reduced, thus proving the efficiency and extent of the IWF/ITA cooperation;   - Following the recent IOC recommendation related to the eventual participation of Russia and Belarus at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the Executive Board states:   “The IWF stands in solidarity with Ukraine and supports the continued IOC sanctions against Russia and Belarus.  We have taken note of the recommendation by the IOC Executive Board that sets out strict conditions under which athletes with Russian or Belorussian passports may be permitted to compete on an individual, neutral basis in competitions governed by International Federations. We will take time to review the guidance closely in order to determine whether and how it can be applied to weightlifting.  The IWF Executive Board will provide an update once the recommendation has been fully considered.  In the meantime, the protective measures introduced last year remain in place at this time.”   - Approval of a working group in charge of creating an “IWF Strategic Plan 2024-2032”;   - Appraisal of the commitment and valuable contribution of the IWF Athletes Commission (AC) for the development of the IF activities. The presence of three AC members on the Executive Board is deemed extremely useful, as it allows very direct and efficient communication between the IWF leadership and the IWF athletes;   - Discussion on the Constitution’s update, which must be formally approved by the IWF Congress next September with the occasion of the IWF World Championships. It was noted that no substantive changes are made – matters related to better readability and comprehension of the text are being revised by the IWF legal team;   - Approval of a rule establishing that Organisers of IWF events must do their utmost to make all financial transactions by wire transfer. Cash operations are only allowed in very exceptional circumstances and must be timely reported to the IWF, in the most detailed way possible;   - Approval of a “Sustainability Plan Report”, to be applied at the IWF events;   - Approval of a transgender policy and creation of a working group responsible for its implementation.   “We had a very fruitful meeting here in Durres and I take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues from the Executive Board for their valuable support to our activities and for their sense of unity and close cooperation. The IWF family is working together for the sake of our athletes, coaches and officials, and their respective National Member Federations. Many important topics were discussed and I am sure that progress will continue to be made in several areas: good governance, anti-doping policy, transparency and accountability, voice and representation of athletes, and organisation of IWF events,” stated the IWF President Mohammed Jalood at the end of the meeting.