IWF Announces Tokyo 2020 Qualification System

April 13, 2018, 5:12 p.m. (ET)

The International Weightlifting Federation Friday announced the Qualification System for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Currently USA Weightlifting is updating its selection procedures to align with the IWF's new system. An update to those procedures is not yet available, but will be soon. The IWF's procedure, approved by the International Olympic Committee, is available here. 

The IWF made the following announcement.


The IWF today announced the Qualification System for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which has been designed to promote individual performance and protect and reward clean athletes.

The new and innovative Qualification System has been approved by the IOC Executive Board following the approval of the IWF Executive Board in an open and transparent process. Under the new system, athletes will qualify individually for the Games, rather than qualifying a quota place for their Member Federation. Such a system was used successfully by the IWF for the ongoing Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, making the IWF the first IF to introduce an Athlete Allocation System. By qualifying individually, athletes will be obliged to participate in at least six eligible events during the shortened qualification period from 1 November 2018- 30 April 2020, ensuring that athletes are regularly subjected to in-competition doping control.

The number of athletes per Member Federation that will be eligible to qualify for Tokyo 2020, will, however, be dependent on the number of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) athletes from that Member Federation have committed since 2008. The Member Federations with higher numbers of anti-doping violations will be able to qualify a maximum of two athletes while those with the lower numbers of violations will be able to qualify up to eight athletes.

This is in line with the IOC’s recommendation that weightlifting’s reduced quota of athletes at Tokyo 2020 should be targeted at high-risk NOCs who have shown a high-incidence of doping in the past, including in the re-testing programmes of Beijing 2008 and London 2012. However, the system still provides the possibility for athletes from all Member Federations to participate at the Games and the rules apply equally to every country.

IWF President Tamas Ajan said:

“We are very happy to announce our new qualification system for Tokyo 2020, which has been approved by the Executive Boards of both the IOC and the IWF. We are very confident that this innovative process will benefit the sport and ensure clean competition at the Olympic Games.

“Under this system, athletes from all NOCs will still be able to qualify for the Games. It is about rewarding those who have not had many or any doping violations over the last ten years. We want to promote clean athletes. By providing these countries with more opportunities to qualify athletes and limiting opportunities for countries with a high incidence of doping we are sending out a strong message that the IWF is committed to clean weightlifting.”

As the IWF has done at previous Games, such as Rio 2016, the Qualification System does allow for further, more severe sanctions as appropriate. If a Member Federation incurs three or more ADRVs in the qualification period, the Independent Sanctioning Panel may withdraw quotas or suspend the Member Federation. If a Member Federation incurs two or more ADRVs during Tokyo 2020 the Member Federation will be banned from the next Olympic Games.

An explanatory document on the Qualification System will be provided by the IWF in due course to ensure its smooth implementation.