3/27/2019 4:55:19 PM

Weightlifting happy as IOC softens stance on Paris Games

Weightlifting happy as IOC softens stance on Paris Games

Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Wednesday welcomed to a decision by the International Olympic Committee to provisionally lift the sport's conditional status for the Paris 2024 Games.

The IOC Executive Board had on Tuesday softened its position on the drug-plagued sport which threatens its exclusion from the Olympics.

The board, on the first day of its three-day meeting in Lausanne, said that because of the work the IWF had done it would "lift the status of conditional inclusion".

But, the IOC added, that was conditional on the finalisation of an agreement between the sport and the International Testing Agency and "confirmation of a successful transition of key areas of the IWF's anti-doping programme".

The IOC said it anticipated a signature of an accord between the IWF and ITA "in the coming days".

"Failing which, the conditional inclusion of weightlifting... will be maintained and reconsidered" in June, said the IOC.

Five weightlifters were banned in December after retests of samples from 2012, taking the sport's total for the London Games to 24.

In January, the IWF announced that eight Thai weightlifters had failed tests or retests on samples taken at the World Championships in November, including two Rio 2016 gold medallists -- Sopita Tanasan and Sukanya Srisurat.

The IOC acknowledged the spate of recent positive tests might "negatively impact the perception that weightlifting has become cleaner" but added that many of these failed tests were the result of reforms by the IWF.

IWF rules say that a nation with three or more positives in a calendar year faces a ban of up to four years, but Thailand voluntarily banned itself from the 2019 world championships, which it is hosting, and from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. That also drew praise from the IOC.

The IWF responded on Wednesday that it "welcomes the support of the IOC".

"The IWF's commitment to clean competition has transformed our sport," said its president, Tamas Ajan, in a press release on Wednesday.

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