International Weightlifting Federation president Tamas Ajan resigns amid ongoing corruption investigation

Ajan, from Hungary, had been at the IWF since 1976, serving 24 years as general secretary and 20 as president.

Reuters April 16, 2020 10:26:50 IST
International Weightlifting Federation president Tamas Ajan resigns amid ongoing corruption investigation

London: Tamas Ajan has resigned as president of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) while an investigation into alleged corruption is ongoing, the governing body said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ajan, from Hungary, had been at the IWF since 1976, serving 24 years as general secretary and 20 as president.

“I offered the best of my life to our beloved sport,” the 81-year-old Ajan said in a statement posted on the IWF website.

International Weightlifting Federation president Tamas Ajan resigns amid ongoing corruption investigation

Representational Image. AFP

“When health circumstances related to the pandemic allow, holding elections would enable a new generation to start work as soon as possible on ensuring a bright future for the sport we love.”

American Ursula Papandrea will continue to lead the sport’s governing body as Acting President.

“We can now begin the work of determining a fresh path towards achieving the full potential of our sport,” she said after Ajan’s resignation, which was accepted at a board meeting that lasted most of Wednesday.

Papandrea, a former international lifter for the United States, is the first woman to lead the IWF, which has existed under different names since 1920 and has had only two presidents since 1972 — Ajan and the Austrian Gottfried Schoedl, who died this week aged 95.

Ajan has repeatedly denied allegations made in a German TV documentary, Lord of the Lifters, that was broadcast by ARD on 5 January.

The allegations, according to a document on the IWF website, were “primarily against” Ajan and concerned “financial irregularities, corruption, doping control distribution, doping sample manipulation, doping payment irregularities, doping activities in specific nations and nepotism”.

Richard McLaren, the Canadian law professor whose report on the Russian doping scandal led to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommending Russia be banned from the 2016 Olympic Games, is leading the team that is carrying out an independent investigation.

Ajan stepped aside as IWF president in the last week of January, initially for 90 days. He said then that the allegations against him were “not supported by the relevant documentation or by people involved in the relevant decisions”.

In March, Papandrea’s tenure was extended by the IWF board until mid-June.

Papandrea said: “The IWF thanks Tamas Ajan for more than four decades of service to weightlifting, and most notably for his work in recent years to ensure an anti-doping programme which meets the standards of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and WADA is in place.”

Weightlifting has had problems with doping for decades and was threatened by the IOC in 2017 with expulsion from the Olympic Games.

The IOC’s retests of stored samples from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games have so far produced 60 positives by weightlifters, by far the most of all Olympic sports.

The sport’s Olympic status was confirmed last year, however, after a series of radical changes, including the adoption of a new Olympic qualifying system that compelled weightlifters to be tested far more frequently than in previous years.

Updated Date:

also read

Euro 2020: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo ready for 'perfect' opportunity to play at packed stadium against Hungary
Sports

Euro 2020: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo ready for 'perfect' opportunity to play at packed stadium against Hungary

At 36 years old, Ronaldo is set take the field in front of 68,000 fans in the Hungarian capital on Tuesday in what should be Portugal's simplest match in a tough Group F alongside Germany and world champions France.

'We are here': Thousands reject Hungarian conservative lawmakers' anti-LGBTQ+ legislation
Lifestyle

'We are here': Thousands reject Hungarian conservative lawmakers' anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

The Hungarian amendments would outlaw any depiction or discussion of different gender identity and sexual orientation in public, including in schools and the media.

Euro 2020: France face Germany as reigning champions Portugal begin title defence
Sports

Euro 2020: France face Germany as reigning champions Portugal begin title defence

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal are set to have the honour of a full house in the Hungarian capital Budapest.