Yousef Al-Mana is regarded as favourite to be elected International Weightlifting Federation President ©Yousef Al-Mana

Finally, more than a year late, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) elections are set to take place in Tirana, Albania tomorrow and Sunday (June 26).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be watching closely and the sport’s future prospects in the Olympic Games could brighten or darken depending on the results.

The IWF simplified matters considerably in a statement today, saying that the two-day Special and Electoral Congress would be a milestone that puts everything in order.

Holding the elections, delayed by governance problems that have constantly drawn criticism from the IOC, will "conclude the three issues addressed by our Olympic partners", the IWF announced.

Those issues were "updating the Constitution which was ratified in January 2022, second cleaning up the sport from doping where there have been zero cases in Tokyo 2020, and now the elections."

Voting in a new Constitution is one thing but abiding by its rules has been beyond the IWF, as reported by insidethegames

As for "concluding the three issues", that view is not held by the man who is regarded by many candidates as the favourite to be elected IWF President tomorrow, Yousef Al-Mana from Qatar.

"We can’t lose focus and think everything is fine," Al-Mana said in one of several campaign interviews in the build-up to the elections.

"We must keep improving and never allow our sport to slip into the situation we faced in the past."

That situation was corruption, centred on doping, that brought to an end the long reign of the Hungarian Tamás Aján, who spent 44 years in control at the IWF.

Aján was banned from weightlifting for life last week, along with one of the current Board’s former colleagues, the Romanian Nicu Vlad, for colluding in doping corruption.

Sam Coffa, who is 86, is likely to be impacted by a principle, expected to be approved, that three Board members may be aged older than 70 ©Sam Coffa
Sam Coffa, who is 86, is likely to be impacted by a principle, expected to be approved, that three Board members may be aged older than 70 ©Sam Coffa

The scandals and mismanagement led to the IOC removing weightlifting from the programme for Los Angeles 2028, and stating only a few weeks ago that the sport’s presence at Paris 2024 could yet be reviewed.

The IOC wants a "culture change" in weightlifting and new faces at the IWF - which is why the elections this weekend are so significant.

Twelve current members of the IWF Board are standing for re-election, many of them for other more senior roles too.

The new Board will be elected tomorrow, followed by polling for positions within the Board - President, general secretary, five vice-presidents and 10 ordinary members.

The vice-president who polls the most votes will become first vice-president, second in command to the President.

Voting for the various commissions and committees takes place on Sunday (June 26).

Also on the agenda tomorrow are various procedural decisions, one of which is approval of the principle that three Board members may be aged older than 70, the limit for candidates in the Constitution.

It is widely expected that this will go through and that current Board member Sam Coffa, the 86-year-old Australian, will be one of them.

It is possible that some candidates will gain plenty of votes but will not take a seat on the Board, because of universality and gender rules.

Both genders must be represented among the five vice-presidents, so if males gain enough votes for all five places, the fifth one must drop out to be replaced by a female - or vice-versa.

Among the 10 Board members, all five continental federations must be represented and at least three of each gender.

The full voting guidelines can be seen here