WADA welcomes International Testing Agency investigation report into activities of International Weightlifting Federation
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomes today’s publication of the report by the International Testing Agency (ITA) related to its investigation into historical allegations of mishandling and impropriety by certain officials within the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), particularly in relation to the IWF’s anti-doping program.
WADA’s independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department has supported the ITA in its enquiries, including by sharing evidence and information from its own wide-ranging weightlifting probe, which has been ongoing since 2017. In October 2020, WADA I&I published the provisional findings of its investigation. The investigation, which has four main pillars, has been looking into claims of corruption within the IWF and allegations of an organized doping and a protection scheme operating in weightlifting.
WADA President Witold Bańka said: “WADA welcomes this report and commends the International Testing Agency for its thorough work. This investigation brought together information provided by whistleblowers, WADA, the McLaren Investigation team and German broadcaster ARD, that enabled further wrongdoing within the International Weightlifting Federation to be uncovered. WADA is very disturbed by what has been revealed and will continue to work in close collaboration with the ITA and others, including law enforcement, to help reveal the full extent of the truth that was hidden for many years.
“It is clear that athletes in the sport of weightlifting were betrayed by some of their administrators. It is a disgrace that the culture of fear, intimidation and silence was allowed to continue for so long. It is encouraging, however, that action is being taken thanks to the diligent work of the International Testing Agency, to which the federation has delegated the independent management of its anti-doping program. WADA looks forward to continuing to work with the weightlifting authorities and the ITA to ensure the matters are dealt with effectively.
“These allegations date back to a time when anti-doping authorities, including WADA, had limited powers to act against International Federations that engaged in the sort of behavior that is alleged. Since the formation of WADA I&I in 2016 and the 2018 introduction of a robust legal framework through the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories, the area has been tightened up considerably to the point where we are confident the activity that allegedly occurred in the past in weightlifting would not go undetected today.
“In this case, there are questions that remain to be answered by the International Weightlifting Federation. WADA will take the necessary steps to ensure that the full picture is unveiled and will support any necessary further investigations following the ITA report. As regards any aspects of this report that can be actioned by WADA, the matter will be referred, as has been the case with all other material collected in relation to the International Weightlifting Federation, to the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee for discussion and review.”