Tuesday, December 21, 2021 The Athletes Committee of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has unveiled proposed weight class changes for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.. According to their announcement on social media, the competitive classes for the upcoming Olympics were as follows:
Men’s Weight Classes – 2024 Olympics
- 61 kilograms
- 73 kilograms
- 89 kilograms
- 102 kilograms
- +102 kilograms
Women’s Weight Classes – 2024 Olympics
- 49 kilograms
- 59 kilograms
- 71 kilograms
- 81 kilograms
- +81 kilograms
For example, men competed in 61kg, 67kg, 73kg, 81kg, 96kg, 109kg and 109kg and women at 49kg, 55kg, 59kg and 64 kg, 76 kg, 87 kg, + 87 kg at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
USA Weightlifting issued a press release on December 22, 2021, confirming the Athletes’ Commission’s proposal.
“There is no easy way to fairly and securely halve the number of World Championship events for the Olympics, but we are as happy as we hope to be with this proposed program,” said USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews. “I appreciate the IWF’s efforts to include the Athletes’ Committee’s voice in working towards this difficult but crucial decision.”
Negotiations within the IWF to determine their Olympic classes took place during the session of the IWF Congress, which was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after the coronation of the 2021 World Weightlifting Championships.
[Related: Chinese Weightlifting Team Withdraws from 2021 World Championships]
News of the updated categories circulated online several days before the IWF’s announcement on social media. Although the IWF has consolidated its proposed categories, Classes must be submitted to and approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before they can become official.
IWF and IOC
The IWF reached agreement on updated competitive categories as part of the mandate placed on the organization by the International Olympic Committee. The rent of weightlifting as a feature of the Olympics is still under intense scrutiny – the sport, at the time of this article was published, was not listed on the podium for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, USA. Though, the inclusion of weightlifting in the 2028 Olympics is not entirely off the table.
The International Olympic Committee has issued a directive to FIFA requiring the removal of bureaucratic and ethical violations within the sport before it can be reinstated in the Games. As part of the sport’s waning Olympic presence, the quotas of athletes available at the Games have been reduced for three consecutive sessions.
[Related: Top Weightlifting Moments from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics]
At just 120 athletes, the 2024 Paris Olympics will host the fewest number of weightlifters in the Games event since 1956.
The revamping of the Olympic categories is likely to shake up the global competition circuit. Faced with a qualifying cycle that has already been cut short by the COVID-19 postponement of the Tokyo Games, athletes may have to make quick decisions about their weight class in order to properly qualify for Paris.
Furthermore, many current Olympic champions from Tokyo will find that their current class is not available in Paris. The 81kg winner Lu Xiaojun, the 96kg champion Faris Ibrahim Al-Bakh and the 64kg winner Maud Charon, others will have to decide which direction they will take their body weight if they choose to campaign for an Olympic roster.
It is also possible that certain classes will receive an influx of competition from neighboring classes that were not reduced at Paris 2024. The women’s 71kg event, for example, was not on the agenda in Tokyo. The 2021 71kg world champion Meredith Allwin may prepare to face Tokyo’s 76kg silver medalist Kate Nye for selection by Team USA.
However, IWF’s proposed weight classes still require final approval from the IOC. With weightlifting still under the political spotlight, conditions are certainly subject to change. For now, it looks like competitive weightlifters around the world will be battling it out in 10 total classes in Paris.
Featured image: Shah Jahan/Shutterstock