Weightlifting body happy with softer IOC stance

Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda resigned from the IOC on Tuesday.
Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda resigned from the IOC on Tuesday.

LAUSANNE • The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) yesterday welcomed a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to provisionally lift the sport's conditional status for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

On Tuesday, the IOC executive board softened its position on the drug-plagued sport, which threatens its exclusion from the Olympics.

The board said that because of the work the IWF had done, it would "lift the status of conditional inclusion".

However, that was conditional on the finalisation of an agreement between the sport and the International Testing Agency (ITA), and "confirmation of a successful transition of key areas of the IWF's anti-doping programme".

The IOC added that it anticipated a signature of an accord between the IWF and ITA "in the coming days, failing which, the conditional inclusion of weightlifting will be reconsidered" in June.

Five weightlifters were banned in December after retests of samples from 2012, taking the sport's total number of positive athletes from the London Games to 24.

In January, the IWF announced that eight Thai weightlifters had failed tests or retests on samples taken at the world championships in November, including two Rio 2016 gold medallists - Sopita Tanasan and Sukanya Srisurat.

While the IOC acknowledged the spate of recent positive tests might "negatively impact the perception that weightlifting has become cleaner", it claimed many of these failed tests were the result of reforms by the IWF.

The sport's governing body welcomed the IOC support. In a statement released yesterday, IWF president, Tamas Ajan, said: "The IWF's commitment to clean competition has transformed our sport."

Separately, the IOC on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Tsunekazu Takeda, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, as a member, a role he has held since 2012.

The 71-year-old, who has also headed the IOC's marketing commission since 2014, is facing allegations of corruption connected to Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Games.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'Weightlifting body happy with softer IOC stance'. Print Edition | Subscribe