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  • Weightlifting Names New Interim President


    (ATR) The International Weightlifting Federation appoints its third interim president since January, and the second this week.

    Michael Irani, IWF interim president (IWF)

    Michael Irani of Great Britain, the IWF medical director, was chosen on Thursday by the IWF Executive Board.

    “I am grateful to the IWF Executive Board for entrusting me with the Presidency on an interim basis,” Irani said in a statement.

    “Since I will not be a candidate for the IWF President position in the future, I will be able to focus fully on the reforms leading up to a clear and transparent IWF Congress.”

    The IWF elections are currently scheduled for the congress in March 2021.

    Irani replaces Intarat Yodbangtoey of Thailand, who held the post for less than two days. As first vice president, he was constitutionally required to take over as president after the IWF Executive Board voted on Tuesday to remove interim president Ursula Papandrea.

    Papandrea, a former president of USA Weightlifting, had been leading a reform process within the federation following the resignation of Tamás Aján in April.

    Her dismissal has been greeted with alarm, with the IOC saying it was “very worried” about the decision.

    The IWF is already on thin ice with the IOC due to the corruption, mismanagement and anti-doping deceptions during Ajan’s 20 year tenure as federation president.

    The widespread scope of the problem was revealed in June when anti-corruption expert Richard McLaren released his report following a four-month investigation.

    USA Weightlifting is asking the 187 member federations of the IWF to join with it in demanding that the IWF leadership convene an Extraordinary Congress by the end of November to address reforms in the areas of anti-doping, governance and athlete representation.

    Phil Andrews, the USA Weightlifting general secretary, said in the letter to the member federations that “it is absolutely without question that our place in Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and beyond is now at issue” due to the actions of the IWF EB.

    According to Andrews, 20 percent of member federations (38 of 187) need to sign on to force an extraordinary congress.

    Andrews resigned as the IWF interim deputy director general on Wednesday following Papandrea’s ouster.

    In a statement announcing the decision, Andrews said “it has become clear over recent months that not everyone has the best interests of the sport in mind and our attempts to reform the sport have been met with incredible resistance.”

    Written by Gerard Farek

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