International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamás Aján has warned the world governing body’s Executive Board members they must unite together if they wish to continue to fight against doping in the sport effectively.
Aján was speaking at the IWF World Championships, which ended yesterday in Pattaya, Thailand.
The event was preceded by what insidethegames understands to have been an extremely heated IWF Executive Board meeting.
The meeting came hot on the heels of Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF) President Maxim Agapitov accusing the IWF of being unfair, unjust and unconstitutional in its anti-doping policies, and describing a new independent sanctions panel as “a Medieval Inquisition”.
Agapitov wrote to every member of the IWF’s Executive Board, complaining that Member Federations are denied their part in “life or death” decision-making processes.
He also warned that weightlifting will “return to the dark ages” without radical change to anti-doping policy.
Agapitov wants a new IWF President to replace Aján, who has been general secretary or President since 1976.
He called on his 20 fellow members of the Executive Board to take action at their meeting, to limit the powers of the IWF secretariat in appointing members of independent panels and to make fundamental changes to the anti-doping strategy.
In a prompt and strongly-worded reply, Aján claimed the secretariat had no such powers and that Agapitov did not understand the IWF’s rules and processes, partly because he spent too much time “WhatsApping and posting on social media during Executive Board meetings”.
Speaking to insidethegames, the 80-year-old warned he had devoted his lift to making weightlifting a clean sport, but that he cannot do anything alone.
“I need partners and this is why I told you, if the Executive Board, all the members, really honestly wish to fight against the doping and they wish to do everything, in this case we will step up one stair more or two steps more, but we have to be very united, and this is my problem,” Aján said.