In a bid to make the sport clean, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has extended its partnership with the International Testing Agency (ITA) to coincide with its fifth anniversary celebrations.

IWF secretary general Antonio Urso travelled to Lausanne to officially sign the yearly contract renewal.

The two bodies have been working together since 2019, with the partnership including athletes' testing, sample storage, scientific research, TUE procedures, education, results management, intelligence and whereabouts submission process.

"We are very happy to renew this fruitful co-operation with the ITA, our valuable partner in the anti-doping strategy.

"Over the last years, the IWF has decisively improved its fight against cheating in the sport and the ITA has played a pivotal role in this merciless battle," Urso said.

"Besides the testing programmes, many other services - such as education and intelligence - are also part of the agreement between the IWF and the ITA.

"This is a guarantee that all aspects of the anti-doping policy are covered and that we are 100% committed to reach a drug-free sport and ensure fair and clean events to all our lifters. "

IWF have vowed to implement stricter anti-doping rules recently ©Brian Oliver
IWF have vowed to implement stricter anti-doping rules recently ©Brian Oliver

Despite recent positive doping tests from Turkey and Kazakhstan in continental events, IWF officials praised the impact of ITA in helping with the International Federation's "culture change" at the recently concluded Grand Prix in Havana.

The governing body claims it has invested over 30 per cent of its budget for the deal with ITA already, with the latest renewal focusing on three specific areas - education (courses and programmes for athletes and support personnel), intelligence and investigation (enhancement of proactive actions in accordance with investigative findings), and legal support (improvement of the anti-doping violations’ management).

"The ITA congratulates the IWF for its continued efforts since 2019 to reinforce its anti-doping programme," ITA director general Benjamin Cohen said.

"Through this expanded partnership, we recognise that the IWF is taking all available measures to kick doping out of its sport.

"We are grateful for the trust the international weightlifting community places on the ITA and acknowledge as well the important work and responsibility that lie ahead of us.

"The ITA is as committed as ever to offer all weightlifters the opportunity to take part in clean competitions."