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Weightlifting

Investigation Into The IWF Forces Reform

T
he Olympic Committee has its sights set on the International Weightlifting Federation, warning that failure to improve its doping culture and governance, will result in a suspension from the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

At the final meeting of the IOC in Tokyo, the committee voted that its executive may suspend any international sporting code from the games that may “Tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.”

Reports say that the IOC has been unhappy with the IWF functioning, warning them last year they would be removed from the Games unless wide-ranging reforms, including rigorous drug testing, were introduced to the sport. 

However, IOC vice president, John Coates, has suggested that the sport has been unable to repair its conduct since, “They have been given very specific recommendations that have not been followed,” he said. 

Coates indicated that the IWF could be suspended before the Paris Olympics, with the possibility of returning for the Los Angeles Games in 2028.

Although the former vice president of the IWF, Sam Coffa, said weightlifting has been “ambushed” by the IOC statement.

Upon his return from Tokyo, acting as the IWF’s technical delegate, Coffa said that weightlifting was run “bloody well” and that the reform process was progressing. 

“The last three years, we’ve got rid of the president, who had cancer in the sport, and we finally decided the time was right for reform,” he said.

“They appointed me as counselor, and I’ve been working on reform, but I get back here to Melbourne and find all of a sudden the IOC has changed the charter so the executive can actually suspend a person and a sport as well,” Coffa said. 

He continued: “We haven’t been banned as yet and hope we will not, but it’s not a secret the IOC has had a gutful of weightlifting.”

“We have been given a lot of warning, but it takes time to develop a new constitution and we’ve been heading in the right direction.

“Our interim president is Dr. Michael Irani of Great Britain. 

“He’s not a livewire, and we expect our Electoral Congress to appoint a new chair in October.

“But the IOC might take charge of the situation before then,” Coffa said. 

Chief executive of the Australian Institute of Sport, Peter Conde, assured that if Weightlifting is suspended, the sport will continue to be assisted by Sporting Australia. 

“I can’t comment on weightlifting’s situation with the IOC, but we would continue to work with them on pathways,” Conde said. 

Now as the Olympics continue to expand their sporting diversity, introducing breakdancing at the Paris 2024 Games, questions are now being asked as to whether the long-standing Weightlifters will survive the distance.