Iranian Weightlifting Federation vice-president Behdad Salimi is among the candidates standing for seats on the IWF Athletes' Commission ©Brian Oliver

Four Olympic champions, including three who won in Tokyo last year, are among the 16 candidates declared eligible to stand for election to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athletes' Commission next month.

They are Maude Charron from Canada, Hidilyn Diaz from the Philippines, Meso Hassona from Qatar and the London 2012 champion Behdad Salimi from Iran, who has retired from competition and is a vice-president of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation.

Zacarias Bonnat from Dominican Republic, a silver medallist in Tokyo, is also on the list of candidates who will be contesting 11 seats.

Three of the 11 - the chair and two others chosen by the Commission’s members - will have a seat and a vote on the IWF Executive Board.

The elections will be held during the IWF World Championships in Bogota, Colombia which runs from December 5 to 16, and the three IWF Board members will be chosen at the first meeting of the new Athletes' Commission, either in December or January.

Two nations, United States and Britain, are doubly represented on the approved list through, respectively, Jessica Lucero and Hampton Morris, and Emily Muskett and Cyrille Tchatchet.

The number of candidates could grow to 22 next week if six who failed to meet the deadline to submit their documents can persuade the vetting authorities to let them stand.

Among those six are Megan Signal of New Zealand, a member of the current IWF Athletes' Commission, and the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Keydomar Vallenilla from Venezuela.

Only two current members of the Athletes' Commission, which was created in 2020, are among the 16 cleared to stand and Signal is the only current member among the six who are "provisionally ineligible", and whose fate will be determined by Wednesday (November 9).

The two current members eligible to stand are Forrester Osei of Ghana, the chair, and Mona Pretorius of South Africa.

Canadian Maude Charron is among the candidates standing for election to the IWF Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images
Canadian Maude Charron is among the candidates standing for election to the IWF Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images

This will be the first elections for athletes, as the original Athletes' Commission was approved by the IWF Board two years ago without elections, at a time when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stressed the need for athlete representation of the sport’s governing body.

The IWF said that the elections "reflect the federation’s commitment to ensuring a strong athlete voice is represented."

Of 25 applications, 16 were cleared by the IWF’s Eligibility Determination Panel, six were "provisionally ineligible" because they did not submit their paperwork on time, and three - from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Seychelles - were declared ineligible for reasons that will not be made public.

Antonio Urso, the IWF general secretary, said: "It’s encouraging to see such interest and diversity among the candidates - and I thank them all for their commitment to contribute to the future of our sport.

"These elections represent an important milestone in our efforts to develop a truly athlete-centred culture across the IWF."

To be eligible, athletes must be aged 18 or over, must be able to speak conversational English, the working language of the IWF, and must have competed in at least one of the past two Olympic Games, or Youth Olympic Games, or youth, junior or senior IWF World Championships, or their most recent continental championships.

Anyone who has had a doping violation cannot stand, and the aim is to have "a balance of male and female members and representation from different continents."

At least four of the 11 members must be male and four female, at least six must still be active competitors, and no continent can have more than three athletes on the Commission.

The 16 eligible candidates are from Africa, Forrester Osei of Ghana and Mona Pretorius of South Africa, from Asia, Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines, Behdad Salimikordasiabi of Iran, and Meso Hassona, who competes as Fares Elbakh from Qatar, from Europe, Yasmin Zammit Stevens of Malta, Anais Michel of France, and Emily Muskett Godley and Cyrille Tchatchet, both of Britain, from Oceania, Luisa Peters of the Cook Islands and David Liti of New Zealand, and from Pan-America Maude Charron of Canada, Maria Escobar of Ecuador, Jessica Lucero and Hampton Miller, both of the United States and Zacarias Bonnat of the Dominican Republic.