Weightlifting chief hopes new anti-doping strategy secures sport’s future

The International Weightlifting Federation hopes that “innovative and creative” rules targeting nations who have violated anti-doping regulations will secure the long term future of the sport in the Olympic program.

Five nations, including Russia, with high doping records have risked weightlifting’s place on the Olympic schedule.

The IWF is effectively allowing Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus only two places each at the Tokyo 2020 Games. This is due to the new rules stating that any nation with 20 or more doping violations from 2008 to 2020 will be allowed only one man and one woman at the Games.

Speaking in the Japanese capital after meeting the Tokyo Olympics’ organizing committee, IWF Director General Attila Adamfi says the new regulations should send a clear message that doping will not be tolerated.

“We took the innovative and creative approach to be able and to provide the possibility for all National Olympic Committees to participate at the Olympic Games but also to reward the clean National Olympic Committees with more possibilities and more quotas,” the Hungarian told Reuters.

“So we are not sanctioning anybody, we are providing additional benefits and additional quota slots for clean countries.”

The new policy has been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who have threatened the sport with removal from the Olympic schedule for the Paris 2024 Games if it failed to improve its doping record.

The doping problem led to weightlifting being put on probation by the IOC, which wants constant updates – with the next one due in June.

“It is not a secret, we are under pressure, obviously,” said Adamfi.

“Obviously not everyone is happy but everybody understands that the sport needs to be creative and needs to be tough on this issue to demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee and to the broader public that the International Weightlifting Federation is absolutely determined to clear the sport.”

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