The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has begun the final phase of determining the 10 new men’s and women’s bodyweight categories, which it hopes will provide greater athletic opportunities, improve inclusivity and enhance competition.
It follows a two-day meeting of the IWF Bodyweight Categories Working Group in Budapest.
The Working Group reviewed the wide-range of proposals which have been submitted by the IWF’s stakeholders and also conducted their own comprehensive research.
In line with the internal decision-making process, the proposal will be submitted to the IWF Committees and Executive Board at the next meeting in July 2018.
The Working Group is composed of members of the IWF Sport Programme Commission and two representatives from each of the three elected IWF Committees appointed by their respective chair.
The decision to increase the bodyweight portfolio from eight men’s and women’s categories to 10 was taken by the IWF Executive Board in November 2017.
The Working Group finalised its proposal on the 10 categories in each gender, drawing on a number of different factors and using scientific and statistical evidence.
The seven men’s and women’s medal events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be drawn from the 10 men’s and women’s bodyweight categories, once they have been agreed.
The meeting was opened by IWF President Tamás Aján in the presence of IWF general secretary Mohammed Jaloud and the President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, Krisztian Kulcsar.
During the meeting there was also discussion on the method to be applied to establish new world and Olympic records, new minimum entry totals for IWF World Championships, and the structure and conditions for a refreshed global calendar of events.
"The IWF is committed to evolving weightlifting to ensure that it remains as relevant and appealing to a global audience as possible," Aján said.
"Over the course of our history we have made several changes to the bodyweight categories in order to adapt to the latest scientific understanding of the human body and the progress of the sport.
"We think now is the right time for us to again review the bodyweight categories.
"This Working Group has a critical role to play in coming up with a tailored, well-structured proposal based on scientific study and discussion."
Attila Adamfi, the IWF director general and a member of the Working Group, added: "It is important that we continually look at ways we can improve our sport for our athletes and for our fans.
"By increasing the number of bodyweight categories from eight to 10, the IWF will provide more medal opportunities and create an even field size which in turn will make for more balanced competitions.
"It will also enhance our flexibility and adaptability and allow us to promote sport innovation, gender equality and sustainability.
"The Working Group delivered a comprehensive proposal for the IWF that could provide a benchmark for many years to come."
The IWF started a review of its bodyweight categories as a means of heading towards a new era for the sport.
The categories have remained the same for more than 20 years but have been changed before, most notably in 1973 and 1993.