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January 14, 2020 2 min read

A German documentary released earlier this month sheds light on the deep-rooted culture of doping and corruption in Olympic Weightlifting that goes right to the top of the sports governing body.

Chief among its allegations are claims that clean urine samples can be bought from
international testers for £150 and that top-level lifters are rarely subject to frequent tests.

But perhaps the biggest target of broadcasters ARD is the financial dealings by the IWF’s long-serving Hungarian president Tamas Ajan.

They suggest at least £3.8 million of the sport’s funding from the International Olympic Committee has been transferred into Swiss bank accounts controlled by the 80-year-old.

Ajan, who also serves as a council member for WADA, has been at the forefront of the IWF for nearly 50 years, serving as the governing body’s secretary general from 1975 to 2000 and as its president since then.

The smoke and mirrors seen amongst the top ranks of the federation has been described as “more brazen” than some of the corrupt activities by FIFA officials over the last decade. Evidence over doping concerns, meanwhile, includes a secretly-recorded video shows Thailand’s Siripuch Gulnoi, who was promoted to Olympic bronze in 2012 because of a doping disqualification, admitting to using steroids.

Gulnoi also claims that drug use is rife among Thai lifters, saying some junior national athletes start doping from the age of 13. And the president of the German Weightlifting Federation, Christian Baumgartner, told ARD: “Ajan stands for a system that has established doping in weightlifting over decades and that has
gone off the rails for decades.”

In response to the documentary, the IWF said in a statement: "Amid a number of apparent falsehoods, unsubstantiated allegations and disproven rumours dating back to as far as 2008, there does seem to be some fresh information included in the programme which may be of use to the IWF's efforts to promote clean weightlifting and protect clean sport.”


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