Int’l Weightlifting Federation Qualification Policy Unfair

Iran heavy-weight weightlifter, Behdad Salimi has always been tested and remains clean at the highest level.Iran heavy-weight weightlifter, Behdad Salimi has always been tested and remains clean at the highest level.

Iran is to protest against its reduced quota of places in weightlifting at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which the national federation describes as “unfair” for a nation that has had no doping violations in the past four years.

President of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation Ali Moradi said he fully supported the anti-doping initiatives of the International Weightlifting Federation, but felt the good record of his nation in recent years had not been taken into consideration.

“We don’t accept this unfair decision and I will protest in this matter,” Moradi told Insidethegames, adding that he had the support of his National Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry.

“Our famous athletes like Kianoush Rostami, Sohrab Moradi, Behdad Salimi and Saeid Alihosseini have always been tested in and out of competition and remain clean at the highest level,” he added.

All four of the mentioned lifters have held junior or senior world records, and all won medals at the IWF World Championships in Anaheim last year, where Iran finished with 14 men’s medals.

 5 Nations Above the Limit

Under the qualification policy announced last week by the IWF and already approved by the International Olympic Committee, nations with a clean record on doping can send a maximum of eight weightlifters to Tokyo 2020, four men and four women.

Those with 10 to 19 doping violations since the Beijing 2008 Olympics are allowed half as many, while those with 20 or more can send only one man and one woman.

There are five nations already on or above the limit of 20; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.  

Those restricted to four athletes are Albania, Bulgaria, India, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Iran with Thailand likely to join them when one outstanding case is closed.

The numbers could change, as any further violations will be counted until the end of the Tokyo 2020 qualifying period in April of the same year.

 Iran’s Cases

According to the IWF’s statistics, Iran has 10 positive cases since 2008 which limits the number of Iranian athletes who can participate in the Olympics to two men plus two women.

“It is very small, while countries with nine positive tests received a quota of four men and four women, which is very strange,” Moradi said.

“Weightlifting is a historical sport, loved by Iranians and very popular in our country,” Moradi said. “I have always followed IWF and World Anti-Doping Agency policy and regulations, and have conducted strict rules on our athletes. Our athletes have attended numerous championships and before each competition our National Anti-Doping Organization tested all our athletes”.

“The recent decision made by the IWF Executive Board is not fair for Iran. I cannot accept it and I will do my best to get our rights. We will definitely protest and ask the IWF to re-examine the rules,” he concluded.


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