Sports court backs Russians in ‘triumph of law over politics’
Three Russian officials have been cleared to stand in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) elections
Russia’s Maxim Agapitov has been cleared to stand for president of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in favor of his appeal against a ban. The decision also freed fellow Russians Dmitry Chernogorov and Aleksandr Kishkin to stand for positions in the IWF.
The IWF’s Eligibility Determination Panel (EDP) had previously said that the trio were ineligible to be nominated by the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF). However, in a verdict on Thursday, CAS said the panel did not have “the jurisdiction” to prevent them from standing.
“The CAS Panel in charge of the matters found that the IWF EDP did not have jurisdiction to prevent the RWF from nominating candidates for the elections,” read a CAS statement.
“Indeed, such decision is of a disciplinary nature and, as provided by Article 13 of the IWF Constitution, it was not for the IWF EDP to rule on the suspension of the RWF in the light of Article 13.12 of the IWF Constitution, but only to determine the eligibility of the candidates in accordance with the IWF Constitution.”
The ruling comes ahead of IWF elections planned for this weekend at a congress in Albanian capital Tirana.
Agapitov is set to stand for IWF president, general secretary treasurer, vice-president, and a position on the Executive Board.
Kishkin was nominated by the RWF for a place on the IWF’s Technical Committee, while Chernogorov is seeking a place on the Coaching and Research Committee.
The IWF had attempted to prevent the RWF from nominating officials by citing past doping violations, also deeming officials from Thailand and Egypt ineligible.
After being cleared to stand, Agapitov’s inclusion would mean there are 11 contenders for the post of the IWF Presidency.
Lawyer Mikhail Prokopets, who defended the interests of Agapitov and other Russian representatives, told TASS that Thursday’s decision was the only correct outcome.
“We are glad that the court took into account all our arguments,” he said.
“Frankly, we were afraid that the difficult political situation could have influenced the CAS verdict.
“Decisions in favor of Russians are now made very difficult, even if there are serious grounds.
“But we must pay tribute to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, which in this case proved the triumph of law, not politics.”
Agapitov, 52, is a former world and national weightlifting champion. He has headed the RWF since 2016, and he was elected to the IWF Executive Committee in 2017.
Speaking on his chances at the elections, Agapitov suggested it was “too early to say.”
“It is clear that our election campaign was undermined,” he told Match TV.
“I think my opponents had such a program so that we would not appear at all in the IWF elections as candidates.”
According to Inside the Games, the upcoming vote is “one of the most important in weightlifting history,” after the sport was not included in the provisional program for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics due to governance concerns.