With the collaboration between the International Testing Agency (ITA) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) having started in January 2019, IWF’s Executive Board Meeting ahead of the World Championships presented a welcome opportunity to review the activities of this young collaboration. Benjamin Cohen, Director General of the ITA, gave the IWF Executive Board an outline of the anti-doping activities that have been implemented for IWF so far and expressed his confidence that the partnership will help promote a doping-free culture in weightlifting. The collaboration was also introduced at the IWF Congress, where all national weightlifting federations had the opportunity to get to know ITA and its operations.
The ITA then moved on to coordinate its first in-competition testing for IWF at the World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. For this ten-day competition, an international team with solid expertise is present on the ground to perform testing activities. Doping Control staff from the Hungarian National Anti-Doping Agency (HUNADO) – with a strong experience in testing at IWF events – were joined by staff from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), and the Doping Control Agency of Thailand (DCAT) provided support personnel. Next to coordinating the testing, the ITA also sent one specialized staff on-site to oversee anti-doping activities. Until the end of the World Championships on the 27th of September, over 300 samples will be collected.
Using the opportunity of the competition to reach many international weightlifting athletes, the ITA will conduct a series of outreach activities on site. These education programmes aim at raising awareness amongst athletes and increasing their knowledge about clean sport, with the ultimate objective of keeping sport real together.