With its Olympic future uncertain, weightlifting names Mohammed Jalood new leader


TIRANA, Albania — Iraqi official Mohammed Jalood was elected president of the International Weightlifting Federation on Saturday amid chaotic scenes.

In an election expected for more than a year, further controversy and confusion were sparked when nine of 11 presidential candidates withdrew just before voting began.

A vote was held, but Qatari candidate Yousef Al-Mana protested that Jalood had also signaled his withdrawal, when the two men sat together before the vote – which would have left Al-Mana unopposed.

After the officials in charge decided that Jalood could participate after all because they couldn’t be sure whether he had signaled his withdrawal or not, Al-Mana then told delegates that he was withdrawing “to satisfy you all”. This made Jalood the new president with no vote count.

Jalood is a longtime IWF official who served as general secretary until Saturday and worked closely with Al-Mana at the Asian Weightlifting Federation. Jalood thanked Al-Mana for stepping down and called him a “good friend” in comments on the IWF website.

“Today we have taken the first step towards building a stronger, more resilient and more ambitious organization,” he said.

Among the candidates who withdrew was Russian Maxim Agapitov, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned an earlier ruling barring him from running. He was joined by Ursula Papandrea of ​​the United States, who served briefly as interim president in 2020 until she was ousted by the board after pushing for anti-doping and governance reforms. Outgoing interim leader Michael Irani of Britain did not show up.

Jalood is the first permanent president since the resignation of Tamás Aján in 2020 after controlling the IWF for 44 years. He faced allegations that failed drug tests were covered up and millions of dollars were missing during his presidency. Aján was banned for life last week by CAS.

These revelations, followed by bitter infighting in the IWF, jeopardized the Olympic status of weightlifting. The International Olympic Committee removed weightlifting from the initial list of sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, although it may reinstate it later.

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