The International Weightlifting Federation has a zero-tolerance policy towards doping and is always working to protect the integrity of the sport.

It heavily focuses on testing and education to ensure clean lifters and fair competition.


Strong stance

The International Weightlifting Federation's new look Executive Board highlighted its commitment to anti-doping at a meeting in Rome in October 2022.

Enhancing the robust measures already in place was a key feature of discussions with Rune Andersen, the chairman of the IWF's Anti-Doping Commission, making a presentation.

It has been proposed to further expand investigative powers, improve education and introduce minimum testing requirements for member nations.

More resources have also been called for to bolster intelligence and investigation, with Andersen seeing this as a key area.

More than half of the doping violations listed on the IWF's website since January 2021 were detected due to intelligence rather than through a failed test.

The International Weightlifting Federation highlighted its anti-doping message at a meeting in Rome in October 2022 ©IWF
The International Weightlifting Federation highlighted its anti-doping message at a meeting in Rome in October 2022 ©IWF


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International Testing Agency

An important partnership was signed between the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Testing Agency in 2018.

In 2020, a multi-year extension was penned to take the agreement until the end of 2024, covering the Paris Olympic Games.

As part of the deal, the IWF has delegated key responsibilities to the ITA which ensures an independent, fair and transparent anti-doping process.

The ITA is in charge of in-competition and out-of-competition testing, result management, whereabouts failures and the long-term storage and re-analysis of samples.

It also deals with detailed risk assessment, test distribution planning and management, therapeutic use exemptions, the biological passport programme and support for the IWF's education programmes.

The ITA deal builds on the IWF's work with organisations including the Clean Sport Commission, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

At present, the ITA carries out more than 2,300 doping tests a year in weightlifting, at flagship events including the World Championships.

The International Weightlifting Federation has an important agreement in place with the International Testing Agency ©IWF
The International Weightlifting Federation has an important agreement in place with the International Testing Agency ©IWF


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Education

The IWF is working to improve its doping education programmes, among athletes, coaches, its member nations and other stakeholders.

In 2022, the International Testing Agency organised an inaugural webinar series to cover the key aspects of anti-doping.

This lasted for five weeks with five webinars in all in English, with translations into Arabic, Mandarin, French, Russian and Spanish.

Athletes and others who took part all received certificates at the end of the series.

Another initiative saw the IWF involve the parents, guardians and others who work alongside young athletes as the organisation recognised the importance of spreading the anti-doping message to a wider group.

They were invited to an expert panel discussion which included Dr. Lubna Sibtain, whose swimmer daughter was the youngest female Olympian from Pakistan, and Jodi Brown, a former international netball player from New Zealand.

Both shared advice on how parents can join in the battle for clean sport.

In December 2022, an International Testing Agency delegation will hold an Anti-Doping Education Outreach and Seminar at the 2022 IWF World Championships in Bogota, Colombia.

At the 2021 World Championships in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, the ITA also organised an anti-doping seminar for participants.

An anti-doping course was also arranged by the Pan American Weightlifting Federation in 2021, attracting 24 participating countries.

Anti-doping education initiatives such as webinars are being promoted by the IWF  ©IWF
Anti-doping education initiatives such as webinars are being promoted by the IWF ©IWF


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Paris 2024

Weightlifting's qualification system for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will have the protection of clean athletes at its heart.

Matthew Curtain, an IWF Executive Board member and the sport's technical delegate for Paris 2024, said at a meeting in Rome in October 2022 that anti-doping will be a clear and guiding principle of the system.

The Board has agreed to strengthen the qualification method, although this requires written approval from the IWF's Athletes' Commission.

Once this is obtained, the qualification system will need to be sent to the International Olympic Committee for final approval.

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, athletes were obliged to compete at a minimum number of events in a set period, where they would be subject to testing, in order to compete in Japan.

Weightlifting's qualification system for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will have clean sport in mind ©IWF
Weightlifting's qualification system for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will have clean sport in mind ©IWF


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