American weightlifters are attending training camps to gear up for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

USA Weightlifting (USAW) chief executive Phil Andrews has created a new online platform to enable clubs to connect with members as preparations ramp up ahead of this year’s re-arranged Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

The platform, called REPS (Retention, Engagement Programming System) is set to allow gyms and organisations to create a customised website, establish programming for members, schedule classes and collect membership fees.

It was put together with United Kingdom-based Rocca Interactive and SPORT80 to develop a system which connects to the USAW membership system.

Andrews said other national governing bodies (NGB) would be able to access the system via SPORT80.

"An age-old issue for NGBs is how to reach the athletes who train but don’t compete," said Andrews.

"My colleague Brad Suchorski and I came up with the concept after listening to gyms, coaches and athletes to create a stronger community that builds collaboration and creates connections and value for our members.

"We plan to licence the platform as well so that it can be used by other NGBs who may have the same gaps in their offering that we have previously encountered."

USAW is launching REPS at a time when elite training camps have started in Salt Lake City to prepare athletes for the Olympics.

Athletes and support staff are tested every day for coronavirus under strict bubble protocols, according to USAW.

Training and education sessions focusing on a wide range of topics including nutrition, mental health, sports psychology, anti-doping, money and management are being held at the camp.

A training hall is being provided by the Marriott Salt Lake City Center for six months to help athletes prepare for the Games.

"We have a responsibility at USA Weightlifting to be innovative in order to provide the best possible opportunities and support for our athletes at grassroots and elite levels," said Andrews.

"The past 12 months have been particularly challenging given the hurdles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns but I am immensely proud that we are building a governing body that will be even stronger than it was at the start of 2020."

USAW recently held its first weightlifting event of the year with the four-day North American Open Series One.

It featured almost 1000 competitors, with nearly 400 athletes opting to lift "in person" in Salt Lake City, Utah, and another 600 competing virtually.

The next North American Open Series event is due to take place in Calgary in Canada in September.