(ATR) The IOC has recognized weightlifting’s anti-doping reforms and removed its threat to ban the sport from the 2024 Games.
Weightlifting is back in the IOC's good graces (IWF)
The sport’s Olympic status has been in jeopardy for the past 18 months after a spate of anti-doping cases involving weightlifters led to the IOC deciding on only ‘provisional inclusion’ at Paris 2024 unless it addressed the doping problem.
Kit McConnell, IOC sports director, told a press conference Tuesday in Lausanne that the IOC was lifting the threat due to the “comprehensive work done in meeting required actions identified by the IOC Executive Board”.
He said the IOC’s ruling body had in particular noted that the International Weightlifting Federation had introduced a qualification system for Tokyo 2020 where the quota places available are linked to a national federation’s anti-doping history.
IOC's Kit McConnell and Mark Adams at press conference (ATR)
McConnell praised the work of the IWF’s two commissions focused on revamping the federation’s anti-doping policies and procedures and for maintaining regular contact with the IOC, including delivering five specific reports on progress in this area.
The IOC is also satisfied that the IWF is bringing tougher sanctions against national federations for breaching its anti-doping rules.
In 2017 nine countries, including China and Russia, served one year bans from weightlifting competitions for repeated doping violations.
Earlier this month, Thailand withdrew from all 2020 Olympic weightlifting and qualification, because of a number of doping violations. The country will host the 2019 World Championships despite pulling its athletes out of the event.
The IWF’s work with the International Testing Agency is expected to lead to an agreement in the next few days, concerning the full transition of anti-doping programs to the ITA. It’s the final condition that needed to be met.
But the IOC has warned that it will be “closely monitoring” the ongoing implementation of commitments of the IWF and weightlifting family in tackling the scourge of anti-doping that has wrecked the sport’s image in recent years.
“If any issues are noted, it will be reported to the executive board to consider any appropriate action including a review of its place on the Olympic program,” McConnell said.
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Reported by Mark Bisson in Lausanne.
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