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Hidilyn Diaz joins scandal-ridden int’l weighlifting body

by Malou Talosig-Bartolome

The Philippine’s first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz, is set for another mission as she will be championing the rights and welfare of her fellow weightlifters all over the world.

Her next burden to carry may be heavier than her barbells. Recently, she was appointed as deputy chair of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board.

What’s driving the news?

The IWF is the only international body accredited by the International Olympic Committee that controls international weightlifting. It has 192 affiliated National Federations worldwide under its ambit.

Recently, the IWF has been embroiled with the scandal on its anti-doping program.

The International Testing Agency has investigated the IWF high ranking board members and national federation officials for doping offenses involving weightlifters.

The ITA found out that the IWF head and vice president covered up instances of doping and tampered the results of doping tests of certain weightlifters.

A report by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also documented anti-doping malpractices in the sport of weightlifting. This includes “Operation Arrow” which was the practice of urine substitution by athletes and the use of doppelgängers within the sport of weightlifting.

Since October 2022, the ITA has notified the IWF that five weightlifters were tested positive for substances that can alter performance and stamina.

For this year, the IWF Executive Board has committed to conducting due diligence of the IWF over the past ten years and improving their “robust” anti-doping program.

As member of the IWF Board, Diaz will have a voting right on decisions by the body.

Other appointees

In a statement, the IWF said the appointment of Diaz happened during the online meeting of newly-elected IWF Athlete’s Commission on January 11.

Forrester Osei from Ghana was re-appointed as chair of IWF.

“It’s a huge honor to be reappointed by my peers as Chair of the IWF Athletes’ Commission. I’m very excited to continue the work we’ve begun – for example, on the athlete scholarships project – with the benefit of even stronger representation on the IWF Executive Board alongside Hidilyn and Luisa. As athletes, we know we have a key role to play in shaping a positive future for our sport in the crucial months ahead,” Osei said.

Aside from Diaz, the other deputy chair appointee is Luisa Peters from Cook Islands.

“The appointments set a new benchmark for athlete representation in international sport governance, with the three athlete representatives also serving as full voting members of the IWF Congress,” the IWF said.

Just last month, the officers of the IWF Athlete’s Commission were elected after the IWF World Championships in Bogota, Colombia.

IWF President Mohammed Jalood welcomed the appointment of the three weightlifters to the IWF Athlete’s Commission.

“I am delighted to welcome Forrester, Hidilyn and Luisa to the IWF Executive Board. We look forward to working closely together as we seek to shape a new future for weightlifting, which places athletes at the centre of everything we do. As a Board, we have been clear that strengthening athlete representation in decision-making is a key stepping stone to greater accountability and progress in our sport,” Jalood said.

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