— Published 13 November 2023

Mohammed Jalood didn’t believe the worst

It was a close call. But Mohammed Jalood (photo above), president of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), assured the Xinhua agency: it was impossible for the discipline to disappear from the Olympic program after the Paris 2024 Games. “Having been present at the Games since the very beginning, it was unthinkable for us to be excluded from the Olympic celebration, assured the Iraqi leader, elected to head the body in June 2022. But the shockwaves caused by this possibility led to a profound change within our international federation. It’s been a rocky road, but since the election of the IWF Executive Council in June 2022, a new team is 100% committed to changing the culture and operation of our body.” A change which, according to Mohammed Jalood, has been brought about by the adoption of new statutes limiting the terms of office of elected representatives, gender equity in the various structures, greater consideration for the voice of athletes, the creation of a refugee team, a specific policy on gender identity, human rights and non-discrimination, and finally the creation of the IWF’s first-ever strategic plan for the period 2024-2032. On the question of doping, the IWF has delegated the work to the International Testing Agency (ITA) and increased its budget. Its president sees this as a first victory: the last world championships, held in September 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ended without a single positive case. At the Paris 2024 Games, weightlifting will feature just 10 categories, compared with 14 at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and a reduced number of 120 athletes.