Colombian Opts Out of IWF Elections Due to Doping Cases

(ATR) The period for candidates to file to run for International Weightlifting Federation president closed on January 25.

(ATR) The president of the Colombian Weightlifting Federation, William Peña, will not be running in the elections to choose a new executive of the International Weightlifting Federation.

Peña announced his decision in a statement on Monday, the same day that the IWF deadline for accepting candidates closes.

The sensitive situation of possible sanctions against three Colombian weightlifters, who were found to have the substance of boldenone in their bodies, led to Peña opting out of a run for the IWF presidency.

With Peña at the helm, Colombia has become the power of weightlifting in the region. That in turn had apparently made members of the weightlifting family in the area approach the Colombian official about the possible IWF nomination.

"That, given the deteriorated image of our world organization (IWF), it is time to put aside personal interests and strengthen the general interest," the statement said.

"We consider of transcendental importance to take into account the ethical consequences of our actions and the benefit or harm that can be done to our sport.

"Colombia has 5 positive cases in 70 years and now 3 adverse analytical results in process before ITA.

"As a Federation we manifest our innocence in these situations,but we understand the current media situation against our sport.

"We have no legal impediment to aspire to be in the positions of the IWF, but today, we do not consider it convenient for our sport, to make any application.

"We continue in the frontal fight against doping, we continue to grow in the number of athletes, we continue to do national and international quality events, trainings and take corrective and preventive measures to have results based on fair play and discipline.

"We wish the greatest of success to the people who come to the IWF, hoping that they will be those who have demonstrated capacity expressed in results and with an ethically favorable image, for the good of our sport discipline," concludesPeña's statemen regarding the upcoming elections of the International Federation.

The three Colombian weightlifters did not accept the ITA's four-year suspension proposal, and both parties have appealed to the Court of Arbitration but the other concern is the recent measures in the fight against doping that exclude a country from the Olympic tournament according to a certain number of sanctioned athletes.

In this context, Peña has reiterated that the Colombian Federation takes all the pertinent measures to clarify the integrity of the organization and demonstrate all the actions that it has traditionally adopted in the face of the cheating.

Last month the IOC was tough on the weightlifting program and the Paris Olympics and applied the largest quota reduction in the sport, where it also removed four events from the program. The sport now has five events per gender, with a quota of 120 athletes, compared to 196 in Tokyo and 260 in Rio 2016. The IWF will set weight classes in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The IOC has reiterated its "strong concerns" about the governance of the IWF and the history of doping in the sport. It also insisted that the weightlifting program for Paris 2024 is still subject to "continuous review."

Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez

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