On the first day of a three-day meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) today lifted the status of conditional inclusion of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
The IOC EB reviewed the positive steps taken over the past 18 months by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to strengthen its anti-doping programme, and recognised how this change is designed to be sustainable through a series of long-term initiatives for clean weightlifting. These measures include the newly designed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 qualification system, which links the number of quota places available per country to their history of doping and rewards clean sport; the adoption of new strict anti-doping policies and procedures; measures directed against athletes’ entourage members; the implementation of innovative methods for sample analysis to enhance the detection sensitivity of banned performance-enhancing drugs; and the Memorandum of Understanding between the IWF and the International Testing Agency (ITA), which will see the Federation delegating key areas of its anti-doping programme over the course of 2019.
Concerning the more recent news of the suspension of multiple Thai weightlifters, the IOC acknowledged the Thai Weightlifting Federation’s decision to voluntarily withdraw from participation and not allow any Thai athletes to compete in the IWF World Championships 2019, nor to take any further part in the Tokyo 2020 qualification process. Whilst this discovery could negatively impact the perception that weightlifting has become cleaner, the IOC positively noted that these Adverse Analytical Findings were detected with the additional analysis specifically requested by the IWF, which ultimately represents further evidence of its determination to fight against doping.
Considering the comprehensive work done by the IWF, the IOC EB decided to lift the status of conditional inclusion of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, subject to the finalisation of the agreement with the ITA and confirmation of a successful transition of key areas of the IWF’s anti-doping programme to the Agency. Once this is completed, the IOC EB decision will be enforced with immediate effect, failing which the conditional inclusion of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be maintained and reconsidered at the IOC EB meeting in June 2019.
This notwithstanding, the IOC EB reiterated that, in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the ITA, it will maintain close monitoring of the implementation of all identified actions and programmes by the IWF Executive Board and the weightlifting family to ensure an ongoing commitment to clean sport.
Should any issues be noted in this ongoing implementation, these will be reported to the IOC EB for it to consider any appropriate action, including with regard to further reviewing the place of weightlifting on the Olympic programme.
Olympic Committee of North MacedoniaThe IOC EB noted that the name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of North Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia (short form: North Macedonia) formally took effect at United Nations level as of 14 February 2019.
As a result, the National Olympic Committee (NOC)’s name will be updated accordingly from Olympic Committee of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Olympic Committee of North Macedonia.
Changes of nationalityThe EB agreed to the following changes of athletes’ nationality, with the agreement of the relevant NOCs and International Federations.
- Mr Simon MCTAVISH - Canoe - from Australia to Canada
- Ms Jane NICHOLAS - Canoe - from New Zealand to the Cook Islands
- Ms Kuinini MANUMUA - Weightlifting - from the USA to Tonga
- Mr Sio POMELILE - Weightlifting - from New Zealand to Tonga
Finally, the IOC EB recognised the resignation of IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda. With this recognition, and in accordance with the IOC’s regulations, the cessation of his IOC membership takes effect immediately. The IOC EB expressed its highest respect for his decision and insisted once more on the presumption of innocence.
It was also confirmed that there will be an additional EB meeting on 22 May in Lausanne to prepare the IOC Session scheduled from 24 to 26 June.