Besieged weightlifting chief suspended for 90 days - report

2 min

Paris (AFP)

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) president Tamas Ajan was suspended for 90 days on Wednesday in the aftermath of bombshell accusations of corruption and doping in the sport, reports claimed.

The organisation's executive board, meeting in Doha, decided to nominate Ursula Papandrea, the president of USA Weightlifting, to take charge until April, the Inside the Games website reported.

The IWF will summon independent experts to probe the allegations during the 90-day period of the suspension.

Hungarian Ajan, 81, has been at the IWF since 1976, serving 24 years as general secretary and the past 20 as president.

His suspension comes just weeks after German broadcaster ARD claimed prominent weightlifters were rarely subject to drugs tests, while some controllers were allegedly taking cash to accept manipulated urine samples.

The programme also cited documents allegedly showing at least $5 million (4.5 million euros) in funding flowing from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the IWF were transferred into two Swiss accounts.

It amounted to what ARD described as a "culture of corruption".

However, Ajan blasted the allegations as "slanderous" and "unjust" and vowed legal action.

"ARD says weightlifting is a sport where millions go missing -- it's just not true.

"It should be stressed that yes, there are two bank accounts, but neither is secret," said Ajan, who considers himself the victim of an "unjust attack".

"All members of the board were aware of it, I am joint signatory along with the head secretary-treasurer, while three other board members have signatory rights at the bank".

Ajan added in an interview with Hungarian media: "This film has completely ruined my life and 50 years of my work."