Weightlifting Federation of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Weightlifting: Prejudice against IWF athletes dispelled

It is well known that weightlifters have always been viewed with suspicion, and in the past, they have been involved in some doping-related issues. However, the current prejudice has no basis, as evidenced by the negative results of all tests conducted at the LXXXVIII World Weightlifting Championship held in Riyadh.

The recent world championship held in the capital of Saudi Arabia from September 4 to 17 was a success not only in terms of sports but also in the behavior of the athletes in the Middle East, as all doping tests yielded negative results.

A total of 213 athletes from 61 countries underwent rigorous doping controls, all of which returned negative results. In addition to the 213 urine samples, 82 blood samples that were collected (approximately 40% of the tests).

The IWF global showcase featured the participation of 692 weightlifters and is one of the two mandatory events on the pathway to qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, a source of pride for the Federation both in sports and in relation to doping controls, ensuring clean competition under international rules, the same rules used by the IOC allowing participation in the quadrennial event.

After receiving the significant report from the International Testing Agency (ITA), responsible for the independent conduct of all IWF anti-doping activities, IWF President Mohammed Jalood and IWF Secretary General Antonio Urso wrote a note of appreciation to all IWF National Member Federations. “This accomplishment reflects the rigorous anti-doping measures, the commitment of our athletes, and the dedication of the Member Federations to uphold the highest standards of integrity in weightlifting,” considered the IWF leadership.

This news comes just two weeks after the historic IOC decision to reinstate weightlifting (present since 1896) in the program of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. It is worth remembering that for years, weightlifting was suspected of not conducting doping controls under strict international standards, allowing or facilitating athletes with illegal substances to compete (concealing massive samples, fake urine samples, among many other corrupt actions), something entirely prohibited by the International Olympic Committee, leading to its exclusion from the Pacific American coast Olympics.

Faced with this “Copernican turn” by the International Weightlifting Federation, which prioritized an anti-doping fight for the first time in many years to regain the IOC’s trust, with changes to some rules, much stricter out-of-competition testing, and those who violate them will face exclusion from the Olympic Games. The main change was that if they were not allowed to conduct tests, competitors would be disqualified immediately, in addition to taking the strict and non-influential doping controls seriously.

It can be concluded that, ultimately, those who do wrong pay the price, and it is right that it should be so. This happened to the IWF in terms of losing the opportunity to compete in Los Angeles 2028. However, it is also right to give the opportunity to those who acknowledge past mistakes, and seek to implement changes to comply with the doping rules established for all athletes by the IOC, promoting a healthy and clean sport, to compete again in the world’s premier sporting event.

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