Weightlifting's refugee team could be hosted at the Eleiko headquarters ©ITG

The equipment manufacturer Eleiko has offered to support the International Weightlifting Federation's (IWF) refugee team by hosting a training camp at its Swedish headquarters.

Eleiko has made its intent clear before the team is even created.

"We view this as a very positive project to support," said the company’s chief executive Erik Blomberg.

"Weightlifting can be used to help support people under difficult circumstances and bring people closer together."

Four athletes and two coaches have sent in applications in the three weeks since the IWF announced its procedure for creating the team, and there could be more before the deadline falls on Saturday (March 25).

"I am pleased with the way things are going, and Eleiko's offer is very welcome," said Florian Sperl, the IWF Board member who is leading the project.

"We have to discuss it in detail when we have a manager and we hope to go to Sweden for a training camp, maybe for a week."

Ideally the Eleiko training camp would be held in the build-up to the IWF World Championships in Saudi Arabia in September.

The plan is for the IWF refugee team, which is separate from the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) refugee team, to make its first appearance at the World Championships.

Sperl, President of the German Weightlifting Federation, said: "We are also considering a visit to a refugee camp, for example in Turkey, to offer those in the camp some platforms and equipment - that's for next year."

A maximum of three males and three females will be chosen for the IWF refugee team by a working party under Sperl's leadership, probably next week.

Norway's weightlifting President Stian Grimseth on a recent visit to Eleiko's manufacturing centre ©ITG
Norway's weightlifting President Stian Grimseth on a recent visit to Eleiko's manufacturing centre ©ITG

Prospective team members must be "recognised as refugees or beneficiaries of international protection according to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency", the IWF said. 

A coach-manager will also be appointed before training schedules and locations are decided.

Eleiko has offered to host the team at its training centre in Halmstad, where its production of barbells and other weightlifting equipment has increased "six-fold or seven-fold in the past 10 years", Blomberg said.

Its number of employees has risen from 35 to 200 in the same time.

Eleiko, which hosts Sweden's national team, also has an elite training programme in partnership with the Swedish Weightlifting Federation and Halmstad University.

"We would support the refugee team's stay, and their needs when they are training here," Blomberg said.

"Historically, Sweden has had a very open mentality towards refugees.

"They are a well protected group of people by law and Sweden is committed to providing support."