The election to succeed outgoing European Weightlifting Federation President Maxim Agapitov has been delayed to 2021 ©Getty Images

The senior European Championships in Moscow have been postponed again until next year, along with the election of the next European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) President.

The Russian Weightlifting Federation made clear to the EWF that it was "fully ready and interested in hosting the Championships in 2020" but acknowledged that difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made a second postponement a better option.

A new date will not be known until agreement has been reached with the European Broadcasting Union and Eurosport, who have already had to change plans once, when the Championships were moved from the original dates in April.

The rescheduled dates were October 31 until November 8, but now there has been another change, agreed by the EWF today.

Within the past two weeks Russia successfully staged its seven-day national championships for 271 athletes in Grozny, the highlight of which was a sixth women’s super-heavyweight title for the Tokyo 2020 medal contender Tatiana Kashirina.

Maxim Agapitov, President of the RWF, wrote to the EWF Executive Board to point out that: "As a result {of the national championships} we have gained valuable positive experience of conducting competitions in special conditions after the end of the pandemic in Russia, using all the necessary prevention measures and requirements of state organisations of sanitary and epidemiological control to counteract the spread of COVID-19."

Russia has had far fewer deaths, per capita, than many other nations – 16,800 from a population more than twice the size of Britain, which has had 41,500 deaths.

Moscow has been allowed since August 1 to stage sport, entertainment, cultural and leisure events "with the number of spectators no more than 50 per cent of the total capacity of the venue" subject to social distancing and sanitary measures.

Foreign citizens are welcome, provided they have tested negative for COVID-19 within three days of arrival and have the documentation to prove it.

Visa regulations are also likely to be eased for sporting events.

Russian Weightlifting Federation President Maxim Agapitov said it was in athletes best interest to delay the European Weightlifting Championships to 2021 ©Getty Images
Russian Weightlifting Federation President Maxim Agapitov said it was in athletes best interest to delay the European Weightlifting Championships to 2021 ©Getty Images

However, as Agapitov pointed out, "since many European countries have travel restrictions, quarantine on return from foreign trips, and athletes have been unable to train adequately we believe it is in the best interest to have the European Championships in March/April 2021.

"We would like to emphasise once again that Moscow and the RWF are fully ready and interested in hosting the European Championship in 2020.

"However, given the unpredictability of the situation, there are many risks, primarily for athletes and their preparation for competitions, as well as with their travel to Moscow.

"Using common sense, it will be better to give them a full opportunity to prepare for and successfully perform at the European Championship in 2021.

"Also, we would like to be called European Senior Championships Moscow 2020, the same as Olympic Games Tokyo 2020."

The EWF Board agreed with Agapitov and announced the second postponement.

With Antonio Urso standing down after three terms as EWF President, a new leader was to have been elected last April.

The Electoral Congress – at which Agapitov, Turkey’s Hasan Akkus and Moldova’s Antonio Conflitti have declared an intent to stand for President - is postponed to whenever the 2020 Championships take place.

A date for the European Youth Championships will also be agreed in due course after discussions with the Polish Weightlifting Federation, which will host the event.

No live international weightlifting has taken place since March, and with the rescheduling of the European Championships only five events now remain on the 2020 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) calendar.

As travel and quarantine restrictions exist in so many parts of the world, there is no guarantee that any of them will take place.