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RWF president to contest right to participate in IWF election in court

The EDP claims that Russian weightlifters have committed six or more violations of antidoping rules over a period of four years that resulted in disqualifications for more than three months

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. The president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF), Maxim Agapitov is going to challenge in a court of law the ban imposed on Russian candidates’ participation in the elections of the International Weightlifting Federation’s leadership bodies, due in December.

Earlier, the RWF Executive Board nominated Agapitov for the president, vice-president and member of the IWF Executive Board. Alexander Kishkin is contesting a seat on the IWF Technical Committee, Dmitry Chernogorov, a seat on the Coaching and Research Committee, and Sergey Serebryakov, a seat on the Medical Committee. The IWF Electoral Congress will be held in Tashkent on December 20-21.

"The Russian Weightlifting Federation has received formal notification restricting its opportunities for participating in IWF elections, to be held in Uzbekistan in December," Agapitov said.

The Eligibility Determination Panel argues that Russia’s candidates are temporarily not eligible to contest seats on the IWF committees, commissions and the executive board. The EDP claims that Russian weightlifters have committed six or more violations of antidoping rules over a period of four years that resulted in disqualifications for more than three months.

"The Russian Weightlifting Federation regards the EDP’s decision concerning Russian candidates as groundless and running counter to the spirit of the renewed IWF Constitution, international sports legislation and strategic tasks of the antidoping movement," Agapitov said. "All claims against Russian weightlifters have been long exhausted and no reasons exist for excluding the RWF from a full-fledged and constructive dialogue. There should be more serious grounds for expelling Russia from the club of the world’s largest weightlifting powers. The EDP’s actions evoke questions and contradict the strategic interests of the IWF in the struggle against doping."

RWF is the world’s leader in antidoping struggle

The RWF president said that restrictions on the rights of Russian candidates to participate in IWF elections are indicative of unfair competition.

"After the EDP’s notification Russia’s candidates had been blocked the international federation sent to Russia a bill for paying fines for positive tests, most of them made at domestic competitions. In the meantime, our federation had had no debts until just recently and Russia’s adult athletes for the past five years have never tested positive at international competitions and consequently had no fines," Agapitov said.

"Nevertheless, Russia is retrospectively and heavily fined for anti-doping violations dating back to 2011-2015, based on data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory. The unexpected bill for violations of ten years ago is an attempt to put pressure on Russia and its national team, which is in active training for the world championships that will precede IWF elections," Agapitov said.

He stressed that such an attitude to Russia was totally unacceptable.

"The RWF today is the world’s leader in the struggle against doping," he said. "We provide assistance to all anti-doping organizations and we have achieved good results. Domestic probes indicate how active we are in this respect. International-level claims against our athletes do not exist. Nevertheless, apparently, we will have to struggle for Russia’s worthy place in the IWF."

The head of the RWF in July won a case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the International Olympic Committee tried to strip him of his official accreditation at the Tokyo Olympics. Agapitov successfully challenged the IOC’s decision in the CAS and his accreditation was restored. Professor Richard McLaren, the author of the investigation into corruption in world weightlifting, then acted as a witness for Agapitov. In particular, he briefed the CAS on the role the RWF president played in investigating the scale of violations in the IWF.