Hidilyn Diaz from the Philippines was elected as a member of the IWF Athletes Commission ©ITG

Three Olympic champions, a silver medallist and four others who lifted in Tokyo last year, including a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refugee team, are among the 10 elected members of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athletes Commission.

Collectively they have a significant social media reach, with 700,000 followers on Instagram alone, which will help them to keep their fellow athletes informed.

Three of the 10 will be chosen to sit on the IWF Executive Board at the Commission’s first meeting, which is likely to be an online-get-together after Christmas.

The Commission’s members - one male and one female from each of the five continental federations - will vote among themselves for the Board members and for a chair.

More than 500 weightlifters who competed at the IWF World Championships in Bogotá, Colombia, were eligible to vote between December 5 and 16, choosing from a field of 18 candidates.

The gold medallists from Tokyo they elected are Hidilyn Diaz from the Philippines, Maude Charron from Canada and Meso Hassona (Fares El-bakh) from Qatar.

Charron, who won at 64 kilograms in Tokyo and was third at her new body weight of 59kg in Colombia, said: "The main combat these days is to stay in the Olympic programme and to continue the fight against doping.

"The Athletes Commission should work hard to represent our interests, like giving feedback of the experience in Bogotá.

"There was the altitude sickness, and lack of quality with uneven platforms in the training hall and in the warm-up area.

"In the future, Organising Committees should show a minimum of standards to host such an important competition."

The silver medallist elected is Keydomar Vallenilla from Venezuela, who dropped down to 89kg to win the world title in Colombia.

Canadian Maude Charron was also elected to the IWF Athletes Commission during this year's World Championships ©Getty Images
Canadian Maude Charron was also elected to the IWF Athletes Commission during this year's World Championships ©Getty Images

The other Tokyo 2020 Olympians are Yazmin Zammit Stevens from Malta, Marie Ranaivosoa from Mauritius, David Liti from New Zealand and Cyrille Tchatchet, who began his international career for Cameroon, now represents Britain, and was a member of the IOC refugee team in Tokyo before he was given his British passport.

Oceania’s female representative Luisa Peters did not compete in Tokyo but she lifted for the Cook Islands at Rio 2016 and London 2012.

Forrester Osei fom Ghana is the only one of the 10 who has not lifted at the Olympic Games, although he has competed at the Commonwealth Games and IWF World Championships several times.

Osei, who was injured when competing in Bogotá, was chair of the Athletes Commission, which was appointed by the IWF Board after its creation about two years ago and until now has held no elections.

During recent months he and the Commission have worked on plans for IWF athlete scholarships, as reported on insidethegames two weeks ago.

Tchatchet, who is a keen supporter of the IWF's plans to create a refugee team said: "This is a historical election and a new beginning for athletes having a voice in weightlifting matters.

"We are a diverse group from different parts of the world with a range of experiences.

"I am chuffed to hear that the IWF has finally appointed a team to draft the policy on supporting refugee athletes, and their participation at international competitions.

"This topic is close to my heart and I will be proud to contribute."

IWF President Mohammed Jalood said: "It has been encouraging to see such strong engagement and commitment to shaping a new future for weightlifting from our athlete community.

"The IWF is proud to be setting a new standard for athlete representation in governance.

"As we look ahead, we see these elections as a crucial milestone in our journey of reform and towards ensuring a positive, sustainable and athlete-centred future for our sport."