The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) extends its agreement with the International Testing Agency (ITA) by four years until 2024 for the independent management of its complete anti-doping program. The ITA also welcomes the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Intelligence & Investigations report on weightlifting, which will help in the pursuit of violations of the IWF anti-doping rules.

A new agreement was signed between IWF and ITA this week running from 2021 to 2024, giving the ITA the full competence to manage IWF’s anti-doping program independently, including investigating and prosecuting all anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) for weightlifting. The IWF began delegating major parts of its anti-doping program to the ITA in early 2019, and the full program since the Weightlifting World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, in September 2019.

Following an initial multi-factor risk assessment and the resulting intelligence-led testing plan, the ITA has since then collected more than 2,700 samples from weightlifters worldwide. As of date, the ITA has investigated 110 potential anti-doping rule violations on behalf of IWF which arose between 2018 and 2020. 71 cases are ongoing at different stages of results management or before hearing panels; 39 have been resolved. The total number of cases handled by the ITA include the following matters:

    • 18 ADRVs stemming from the “Operation LIMS
    • 12 ADRVs as a result of the ITA’s re-analysis program for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games
    • 1 ADRV following an investigation based on the ARD documentary “Lord of the lifters”
    • 4 ADRVs involving urine substitution

In addition to the prosecutions of the abovementioned ADRVs based on the results of ITA’s testing and investigative endeavours, the ITA was handed over to investigate 146 apparent pending cases which were discovered in the wake of the McLaren report on IWF. The 146 files are based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s records for the reference period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2019. As of date and based on an interim report provided to WADA on 18 September 2020, the ITA has reviewed the files and is pleased to provide an update on the figures:

    • 49 cases had in fact been processed by IWF and the athletes were sanctioned.
    • 25 cases are from samples collected in 2019 or in the scope of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. These cases were already handled by the ITA and are included in the 71 cases mentioned above.
    • 72 cases are currently being investigated, of which:
        • 47 cases from samples collected between 1 January 2009 and 30 September 2011
        • 25 cases from samples collected between 1 October 2011 and 31 December 2019.

The ITA is currently pursuing its review of the open files with a view of resolving all pending matters before the end of the year.  

The ITA has also proposed new terms of reference for the IWF anti-doping bodies and has recommended new independent members to fill these positions, thus working tirelessly to promote change and anti-doping reforms in the sport of weightlifting.

ITA welcomes WADA I&I report on investigations into weightlifting

The ITA welcomes the essential work of WADA’s Intelligence & Investigations (I&I) department summarised in its report published today on investigations into the IWF, which sheds light on a number of concerning facts in regard to the state of fair play in weightlifting. The ITA has been collaborating with WADA I&I over the past months on some of these investigations and is confident that this growing cooperation will provide a powerful basis to pave a clean path for the IWF and its athletes.

The ITA takes the information presented in the report very seriously and will pursue its work diligently to investigate, prosecute and bring to justice all violations of the IWF anti-doping regulations as per its mandate and in full compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, cooperating closely with WADA I&I and any relevant national anti-doping organisations and law enforcement authorities

The ITA positively notes IWF’s commitment for a long-term collaboration that entails the implementation of an ambitious anti-doping program for weightlifting and the support to comprehensively follow up on the intelligence provided by WADA I&I.