— Published 12 September 2023

Countries will be classified into three groups

Its Olympic future is still dependent on the forthcoming decision of the IOC Executive Board, but weightlifting is looking to the future. Its international body, the IWF, took advantage of the world championships currently being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to hold a two-day meeting of its executive board (pictured above) (September 10 and 11). Unsurprisingly, the discussions revolved around the issue of doping. Rune Andersen, Chairman of the IWF Anti-Doping Commission – who also heads World Athletics’ task force on doping in Russia – announced that countries would be divided into three groups from November 1, 2023. The classification will take into account their doping history and, among other criteria, their national anti-doping strategy. For Group A nations, the most suspect, a minimum of two out-of-competition tests will be required for athletes qualifying for the Paris 2024 Games. In Group B, the requirements will be less stringent, with only one out-of-competition test per athlete. Finally, the countries presumed to be the “cleanest“, grouped together in Group C, will have no requirements to meet. The list of countries in each category will be announced next month by the International Testing Agency (ITA). The IWF Executive Board also decided that the new gender identity policy, which provides for the creation of a category open to athletes declaring themselves neither female nor male, will be implemented for the first time at the Junior Worlds, scheduled for November 2023 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Finally, the IWF has announced the organization of a training camp for ten young athletes – one boy and one girl per continent – prior to the next Junior Worlds, and the forthcoming opening of three IWF academies. These are due to open in Cuba for the Americas, in China for Asia and in Bulgaria for Europe.