On Monday March 16, the Australian Weightlifting Federation (AWF) released a statement on COVID-19 (also called coronavirus) following an emergency board meeting on March 13.
The statement explains how the AWF plans to re-organise weightlifting events and competitions in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve highlighted some of the key points in this article, but if you’d like to read the full statement, you can do so here.
The first point is significant: “All AWF National Championships will proceed as scheduled in 2020.” This includes the 2020 National Masters comp scheduled for June 5-7.
The caveat looming over this, of course, is that the world is now in a situation where information and plans are constantly changing — updates are hour-by-hour, not day-by-day anymore. This means any plans the AWF puts in place now might well be overruled by government or health authorities in the coming hours, days or weeks. The AWF acknowledges this, but does not shed any light on what Plan B is if government intervention leads to National competitions being cancelled.
The AWF also commits to “extend the qualification period for the AWF 2020 National Junior and Under 23 Championships … The extended qualification period will end at midnight on Sunday 29th March.”
However, this extension is only for “eligible athletes who were entered into any event which was originally scheduled to take place between 14th and 15th March 2020, but was cancelled or postponed”.
There was a further update to the future of the Junior/U23 Champs when AWF CEO Ian Moir emailed state weightlifting bodies on Tuesday March 17 to advise them:
“If the championships cannot safely be conducted with all participants in one place, it will become an ‘email competition’. Each State Member will be asked to conduct a competition for entrants within their own state or territory on the weekend of 15th – 17th May and email the results to the AWF. The AWF will still provide event T-shirts, medals and trophies and will assist State Members to run their event locally by returning a portion of the entry fees collected from each state’s athletes to the relevant State Member.”
On the subject of crowds, the AWF’s March 16 statement said that in order to limit the size of crowds gathering for competitions, “the AWF will permit scheduled State level events to be conducted in multiple venues” — providing each venue can maintain the standards of an AWF-sanctioned event.
The Oceania Championships had already been postponed by the Oceania Weightlifting Federation and the Nauru 2020 Organising Committee. The preparation camp — scheduled for April 8-12 — for the Australian senior team heading to the Champs has also been postponed. There is no new date set for either the camp or the competition itself. The AWF cautiously suggests the Champs might go ahead in “September or October”.
This postponement “means that four out of five Continental Championships – Oceania, European, Asian, African – have now been postponed”.
Finally, we’re still treading water on Tokyo 2020. The statement reminds us that the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) is “considering modifications to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualification System” in light of the fact that numerous qualifier events are being cancelled. But we don’t yet know what those modifications will be.
The executive board of the IWF is due to meet from March 17-18 so we expect a statement in the next few days outlining more detailed plans.
At The Weightlifting Platform, we will try our best to stay on top of COVID-19 news as it relates to the sport and keep our readers updated.