The British doctor Mike Irani has become the fourth leader of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in less than nine months.
His tenure will be short as the IWF’s Member Federations have demanded an Emergency Congress which, the governing body’s Constitution states, must be held within 90 days once one fifth of members have called for it.
It is believed that the required number, 38, has already been passed.
In response to fierce criticism from within the sport and from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thailand’s Intarat Yodbangtoey stood down as Interim President after less than two days in office.
The IWF also agreed to extend its anti-doping agreement with the International Testing Agency.
When 2020 started Tamás Aján, who had held high office for 44 years and was elected President in 2000, was in command.
His position became untenable after a corruption scandal was exposed in a German television documentary in the first week of January and he resigned in April.
The American Ursula Papandrea took charge but her attempts to lead reform were blocked by her own Board and she was voted out of office on Tuesday (October 13).
The appointment of Thailand’s Intarat, whose nation is banned from Tokyo 2020 because of doping, as Papandrea’s replacement was criticised by the IOC and caused outrage in the weightlifting world.
Intarat, one of seven Board members whose nations are either banned or restricted to small teams at Tokyo 2020 because of doping, voluntarily stepped aside.
Irani has agreed to replace him after other candidates declined.
Only yesterday British Weight Lifting (BWL) called on the entire Board of the IWF - including Irani - to step down because of recent events.
Ashley Metcalfe, chief executive of BWL, said after Irani's appointment: "We still feel very strongly that the entire Board of the IWF should step down and there should be elections - hopefully Mike can lead that process."
Irani is a board member of BWL and Metcalfe added, "What Mike has given to the sport over the years as a volunteer is phenomenal."
In a year when weightlifting has been blighted by the corruption scandal, the IWF Board was widely condemned for removing Papandrea, who was supported by the IOC in her attempts to reform the governing body.
A petition calling for a vote of no confidence in the IWF Board and due to be presented to the IOC, attracted nearly 8,000 signatures in its first day of existence.
It was launched by Sarah Davies, the British lifter who chairs the IWF Athletes Commission.
USA Weightlifting has written to every member federation of the IWF asking them to call for an Emergency Congress and has had many positive responses.
One of Irani’s first duties is likely to be organising a Congress within 90 days.
Irani, 71, is a long-standing member of the IWF Board, a former chair of the Anti-Doping Commission, and current chair of the Medical Committee.
He is a respected rheumatology specialist who has helped many athletes over the years, at the British Olympic Association before he went into weightlifting.
Irani is passionate about cricket. He was never a weightlifter but has been a team doctor for decades, has attended dozens of international competitions, and has served on IWF committees for nearly 25 years.
Accepting the position, Irani said in an IWF statement: "I am grateful to the IWF Executive Board for entrusting me with the Presidency on an interim basis.
"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."
"I am confident we can achieve an ambitious reform programme," added Irani.
"And as an encouraging sign, I am pleased to note the IWF Executive Board has decided to extend our agreement with the International Testing Agency for the whole of the next Olympic cycle, until 2024.
"This will enable us to continue the successful cooperation by which the ITA has managed the IWF’s robust anti-doping activity, in a way that is independent from us as the sport’s governing body."
The statement said Davies would be invited to participate in future Board meetings, but she will not have a vote.