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IOC expresses concern, IWF hits back as ARD documentary fallout continues

Image: IOC

The International Olympic Committee has described as “very serious and worrying” the allegations made in Sunday’s documentary by ARD alleging failures by the International Weightlifting Federation to tackle doping and corruption within its sport.

Meanwhile, the federation released a strong statement defending itself, saying the programme “contains many insinuations, unfounded accusations and distorted information, and it categorically denies the unsubstantiated and very serious accusations made against it by the show”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it would open an investigation into new allegations that were new to it in the documentary, of doping among Thai weightlifters. Thai Olympic bronze medallist Rattikan Gulnoi was filmed admitting using steroids when she was 18 years old.

The New York Times reported that the IOC’s chief ethics official said they would ask ARD, a German public-service broadcaster, to share evidence about allegations that IWF president Tamas Aján made improper use of IOC funding.

The paper noted there was a previous complaint about IWF finances, in 2010, that was later closed.

In its statement yesterday, the IWF refuted the claims of financial impropriety, saying: “Between 2009 and 2011 the IWF received exactly the same claim. The matter was then discussed and dealt with by the IWF Executive Board and an extensive document package was submitted to the IOC Ethics Commission for study. It was finally established that:

  • No money was missing;
  • The President and the General Secretary-Treasurer acted in full accordance with the IWF Constitution and provisions in effect at the time;
  • All the Olympic revenues were accounted for and duly documented in the IWF official bank accounts, (none of them secret),
  • The Executive Board had full knowledge of the IWF assets.”

The IWF also refuted several of the claims in the documentary about deficiencies in its doping testing regime, saying: “The IWF has always been and is today fully Wada code compliant. It has been running a progressive and extensive anti-doping program, which has been continuously upgraded, including creative and pioneer measures.”

However, it admitted it was acting on the allegations of doping among Thai weightlifters, evidence of which had emerged more recently. The organisation said it had already been acting on this and in a separate statement announced results of this action, which included findings of 17 doping violations against 10 athletes, suspensions, and withdrawals from competition, and may result in further sanctions against the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association. The IWF said the claims made in the ARD documentary by Rattikan Gulnoi were new and it had already started an investigation into them.