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Long-time weightlifting head Aján resigns amid investigation

/ 02:53 PM April 16, 2020

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President, Romanian Tamas Ajan, gestures during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro Pavilion in Rio de janeiro, Brazil on August 15, 2016. (Photo by GOH CHAI HIN / AFP)

GENEVA—The long-time leader of weightlifting’s governing body resigned Wednesday amid an investigation of suspected corruption exposed by a television program.

The International Weightlifting Federation said it “approved the retirement” of the 81-year-old Tamas Aján, its president for the past 20 years and a former International Olympic Committee member.

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“We can now begin the work of determining a fresh path towards achieving the full potential of our sport,” IWF acting president Ursula Papandrea said in a statement.

Aján had stepped aside soon after German network ARD broadcast allegations in January implicating him in financial wrongdoing involving Olympic revenues and covering up doping cases.

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The Hungarian official denied wrongdoing, but in March resigned his honorary IOC membership “in order to save the Olympic movement from negative rumors.” Aján had been a full member of the IOC for 10 years until 2010.

Weightlifting’s reputation under Aján had already been hit by dozens of steroid doping cases revealed in retests of samples from the Olympics since 2008.

After the ARD broadcast, the interim IWF leadership invited Richard McLaren, lead investigator in the Russian doping scandal, to assess the allegations. That probe is ongoing, the IWF said.

Millions of dollars in the Budapest-based IWF’s share of funding from past Olympics was unaccounted for in Swiss bank accounts controlled by Aján, the program claimed.

ARD also claimed there were irregularities in how samples were collected from lifters, many by Hungary’s national anti-doping agency.

“I offered the best of my life to our beloved sport,” Aján said Wednesday in the IWF statement.

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TAGS: International Weightlifting Federation, Sports, Tamas Ajan, Weightlifting
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