The IWF Board met at the Italian National Olympic Committee headquarters in Rome ©IWF

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has strengthened its commitment to rooting out dopers from the sport.

At a meeting in Rome, the IWF Board agreed in principle to exclude nations where out-of-competition testing is not possible "to support zero tolerance on doping".

The move was highlighted by Antonio Urso, new general secretary of the IWF, when he discussed the need for widespread reform within the sport in July.

The Board also discussed plans to expand the doping authorities' investigative powers, introduce minimum testing requirements for member federations, and "address resources in intelligence and investigation".

More than half of the doping violations listed on the IWF's website since January last year came about as a result of intelligence rather than a positive sample.

Further progress in this area is seen as a top priority by Rune Andersen, the Norwegian chair of the IWF's Anti-Doping Commission, and Benjamin Cohen, director general of the International Testing Agency (ITA), which carries out all anti-doping procedures for the IWF.

Andersen and Cohen both addressed the Board meeting, the first ever held in Rome, where Urso is based.

An IWF statement said, "Special attention was paid to how the IWF can further enhance education among athletes, coaches, and National Federations."

Matthew Curtain is the IWF delegate for Paris 2024 ©Matthew Curtain
Matthew Curtain is the IWF delegate for Paris 2024 ©Matthew Curtain

Mohamed Jalood, the IWF President, said: The IWF's anti-doping programme is recognised as being one of the strongest among Olympic sports but we always want to go further and find ways to enhance it to better promote clean sport."

Weightlifting’s dreadful record on doping in the past is one of the reasons why it has lost more than half of its athlete quota places between 2016 and 2024 and has been dropped from the programme for Los Angeles 2028 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The fifth-placed finisher in the men's 94 kilograms won gold and an athlete who finished ninth won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games because so many athletes ahead of them were disqualified when stored samples were retested four years later, and a slew of nations have been banned or lost quota places in subsequent Olympic Games because of doping.

Another problem for the IWF, as far as the IOC is concerned, is inadequate governance, another topic that was addressed at the Rome meeting this week.

Ten new members were elected to the IWF Board at its elections in June - although the results of those elections are subject to legal challenge, as reported by insidethegames this week.

The IWF is trying to look back to see exactly what went wrong during its long period of trouble, and said it was "conducting due diligence of the IWF" over the last decade.

The Board voted to make changes - as yet unspecified - to the qualifying system for Paris 2024, although nothing can be done without approval from the IWF Athletes' Commission.

Saeid Mohammadpour won a London 2012 gold medal only after four athletes who finished ahead of him were disqualified for doping ©Getty Images
Saeid Mohammadpour won a London 2012 gold medal only after four athletes who finished ahead of him were disqualified for doping ©Getty Images

"Protecting clean athletes was a clear guiding principle in the proposal around updating the Olympic Qualification System for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 presented by IWF EB member Matthew Curtain, the IF Delegate for Paris 2024," the WF said.

"The Executive Board agreed in principle to strengthen the Qualification System, subject to written approval from the IWF Athletes' Commission. 

"Following IWF Athletes' Commission approval, the document will be sent to the IOC for final approval."

Curtain, chief executive of British Weight Lifting, worked on the qualifying system for Tokyo 2020 and was sport manager for weightlifting at London 2012.

Jalood said the IWF's commitment to progress "was clear in our discussions on anti-doping but also extends to our Olympic qualification system, reforms on governance and the development of weightlifting."

IOC member and Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò attended the start of the meeting to welcome the members to the CONI Headquarters.