Four lifters integrate the 2024 IWF Refugee Team. PARISA JAHANFEKRIAN INSTAGRAM PAGE

The International Weightlifting Federation has announced the 2024 Refugee Team of four athletes: Parisa Jahanfekrian (originally from Iran, but based in Germany), Aline de Souza and Monique Araujo (both from Brazil, but currently based in the USA) and Addriel Garcia (Cuba/Italy).

These lifters were already part of the inaugural 2023 programme and will therefore have additional opportunities to compete at IWF events in the coming months. The deadline to apply for the team was 31 January 2024. 

All lifters who are part of the IOC Refugee Team will also join the group. Aveenash Pandoo, a former member of the IWF Coaching and Research Committee and currently head coach of the Abu Dhabi Weightlifting Club, has been selected to lead the 2024 team. The team will be completed by Hussein Elsettawi, a physiotherapist. 

According to the eligibility rules for the IWF Refugee Team, athletes must be officially recognised as refugees in their country by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to be eligible to compete in IWF events. Asylum seekers will not be accepted into the programme and all lifters must have a travel document and must comply with Article 5.5.16 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules, which states that information on the whereabouts of athletes must be submitted at least three months prior to the event. 

Finally, all athletes and support personnel must complete the WADA ADEL online course prior to competition and present their certificate to the IWF/ITA. In accordance with Article 17.2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules, the IWF may also decide to require athletes to complete educational activities before and/or during their participation in selected events as a condition of such participation.

Aline de Souza is a member of the 2024 Refugee Team. IWF
Aline de Souza is a member of the 2024 Refugee Team. IWF

The IWF 2024 Refugee Team Programme will run until the conclusion of the IWF World Championships in Manama (BRN) next December. While these athletes will not be part of the Olympic qualification system (with the exception of lifters on the IOC Scholarship Holders' List), they will be able to participate in IWF competitions throughout the year and will be invited to attend at least one training camp during the year. 

"After a very successful launch of the IWF Refugee Team in 2023, we are delighted to continue the programme. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these lifters, and I will never forget the satisfaction of the two Brazilian lifters who were able to compete at the IWF World Championships in Riyadh last year. These athletes have gone through some very difficult times during their existence, but their passion for the sport has remained unchanged," said the IWF President Mohammed Jalood.

"I wish all the lifters included in this group the best of luck and I look forward to seeing them perform at the highest level at our competitions," concluded IWF President Mohammed Jalood.