Weightlifting World Championships moved to Ashgabat, IWF approves anti-doping roadmap

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has reassigned hosting rights for its 2018 World Championships to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, while the body’s Executive Board has also unanimously approved recommendations made by the Clean Sport and Sports Programme Commissions to eradicate doping in the sport.

Next year’s IWF World Championships had been due to take place in the Peruvian capital of Lima but the event has been moved to Ashgabat, the host of this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

The IWF said that officials in Ashgabat had asked to host the event to help ensure the legacy of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. Organisers of the Lima event subsequently agreed to the relocation.

An IWF statement read: “Recognising the request of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to make post-Games use of the legacy left by the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which was an enormously successful event, the original host of the 2018 World Championships renounced the organisation enabling the Executive Board to reallocate it to Turkmenistan.

“Athletes competing at the World Championships in Ashgabat will be able enjoy state-of-the-art venues and facilities which were constructed for the AIMAG, ensuring they can compete at their very best.”

The 2017 IWF World Championships begin in Anaheim near Los Angeles tomorrow (Tuesday). Anaheim was assigned the event in October 2016 after Penang in Malaysia gave up hosting rights.

Meanwhile, the IWF has pledged to implement a number of recommendations of the Clean Sport and Sports Programme Commissions in its bid to clamp down on doping.

While the commission recognised that “significant” improvements have been made in anti-doping efforts since the 2012 summer Olympic Games in London, it stated that there is “scope to do a lot more work to combat doping.”

The commission in particular highlighted the IWF’s need to combat doping in less than a dozen high-risk countries where there is an “entrenched culture of doping which also goes beyond weightlifting.”

The commission recommended that the IWF engages the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and collaborates with the International Association of National Anti-Doping Organisations and the World Anti-Doping Agency to develop “increased and more effective out-of-competition testing in high-risk countries”.

The IWF was also recommended to clearly set out in its anti-doping policy that any member federations that do not fulfil their anti-doping responsibilities will lose their right to participate in international competition for up to four years.

Athletes in the IWF Registered Testing Pool have also been required to provide the IWF with an updated list of their coaches and other athlete support personnel, while enhanced education on anti-doping must also be provided.

The IWF’s Executive Board has approved all recommendations, which will form the basis of its submission to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board’s meeting next month.

The IWF has also approved the Clean Sport Commission staying engaged with the body for an additional four-year period to provide consultation as it progresses with the implementation of the recommendations.

IWF president Tamás Aján said: “Today marks the start of a new chapter for international weightlifting. We accept that in the past the incidence of doping in weightlifting has been too high and we had already moved aggressively to combat this. But with the excellent recommendations that we have approved today, we have a clear strategic plan for how to address this incidence and ensure that we move forward towards a cleaner future.”