Doping: a culture change in the sport of weightlifting

Dopage: une culture à changer en haltérophilie

Sportcom | Christine Girard does not pass through four paths to summarize his thought to the reading, the last week of the findings of the survey of the canadian jurist Richard McLaren on corruption and doping within the international weightlifting Federation (IWF).

“This is catastrophic enough!” called the former weightlifter.

If the picture is dark, however, it is time to change things and Canada could serve as a model, according to athletes from quebec.

The gold medallist of the London olympic Games and bronze to those of Beijing, and is currently a member of the board of directors of the canadian Centre for ethics in sport (CCES), says that there will be a large educational work to do.

“Action must be taken immediately and drastically, but you need to be aware that it is a culture change that we asked several people involved in the sport and it’s going to take some time”, she says.

In addition, the survey, which focused on the years 2009 to 2019, confirmed that 40 drug testing positive had been concealed in the records of the IWF. But according to investigators, the culture of doping is the “real problem”.

Christine Girard ensures that the athletes ‘ health must come before any thing. We need to stop pointing the finger at those who fail tests anti-doping and rather denounce the systems behind them.

“These are not athletes who are doping, they are athletes who are forced to dope by their country, by their coaches and by the people in power. What I see in there (as a solution), they are athletes who need to be protected and be educated to know that this is not normal to be forced to take pills each morning,” says the one that calls for concrete actions that will go beyond the surveys.

“Information disgusting”

Beyond the doping, the investigation has also cast a light on the ways of the former president of the IWF Tamas Ajan, to keep control on the finances of the organization and keep the members of the federation in the shadow. The team of investigators estimated that 10.4 million of dollars have disappeared from the coffers of the federation. It also reveals the instances of electoral fraud within the organization.

For the double Olympian Marie-Eve Beauchemin-Nadeau, several pieces of information are not new. In particular, it felt very odd that transactions are made in cash. If such evidence is produced, the survey confirms the various irregularities that had been raised a few months ago in a documentary by the German broadcaster ARD. It was at the origin of this independent investigation commissioned by the IWF.

Marie-Eve Beauchemin-Nadeau

“Honestly, this is very disappointing, but this is really not surprising,” she said. It is really information awful, but as long as it is not an update, we can do nothing. So now, at least the world knows and we can no longer put our heads in the sand. People are going to have the potential to change things.”

These olympic athletes are convinced that there are many people who are fighting for change and who have good intentions within the federation. Following the departure of Tamas Ajan, who has been forced to resign in April after 20 years at the head of the organization, and their voice should be heard and, most importantly, fair elections must be held. Since the survey indicates that Ajan had the power well before you have the title of president, while he was secretary general from 1975 to 2000.

Not before Tokyo 2021

Gilles Poirier, head coach of the national team to the olympic Games in Rio, warns, however, that it would be surprising to see changes in competition by the olympic Games in Tokyo.

“It’s going to change, but it will not be overnight,” he said. It is a mindset, and this is not only in bodybuilding that it will have to change. It will also change in different countries and raise awareness in people that there can be performance without doping.”

On the right track

Canada can be seen as an example of success in weightlifting, while its athletes shine in the sport by staying clean.

“I think that it is a model country in the fight against doping and this is especially important in a sport like ours, says Christine Girard. I think it brings a lot of encouragement for the athletes to see that we are going to spread our way of doing business.”

Out of retirement last year to race again without imposing the pressure of performance, Marie-Ève Beauchemin-Nadeau can not hide his love for this sport. Even if the changes will be long to implement, it does ensure that the weightlifting is on the right track.

“It is a sport that has the potential to rally a lot of people, she says. The developing countries have no problem to implement programs of weightlifting because it costs nothing. It is really a good support for young people so that they develop as a person.”

“It is such a good sport, which is the basis of lots of other and there are so many beautiful things that have been put aside in recent years because of doping and because of all the scandals. I hope that this one is really one which is going to turn the page and start a new chapter,” says Christine Girard.

Through the scandals, the hope of changes remains and the passion of weightlifters in quebec remains intact, they never give up in front of a test of strength.

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