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Weight Lifting

IWF In Turmoil As Interim President American Ursula Papandrea Quit Executive Board Few Days After Been ousted

The American Ursula Papandrea, who was voted out of office as Interim President of the IWF on Tuesday has now throw in the towel, accusssing IWF Executive Board of putting its own members’ interests ahead of the sport’s Olympic future in a damning resignation letter.

Her resignation as a vice-president, after nine months of “stalling, blocking and bullying” by the Board was “based on the treatment I endured at the hands of several Board members”, Papandrea wrote.

“I no longer have any desire to engage with numerous members. 

“I see the intent of the Executive Board as misguided and self-serving.”

She accused Board members of trying to get their hands on evidence from an investigation that implicated them in “malfeasance”, and which was intended for independent oversight experts.

When she tried to remove certain Board members, her attempts were blocked, she said.

She intends to take legal action over her own removal from office.

Papandrea is the second Board member to resign within 12 hours, following the departure last night of Antonio Urso, the Italian president of the European Weightlifting Federation.

At least one more Board member is expected to follow them by resigning, leaving the sport in further turmoil as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) looks on.

In the past four days the IWF has had three different leaders, has faced severe criticism from the IOC, has been labelled “corrupt” by the chair of its own Athletes Commission and has now lost two senior Board members, both of whom played leading roles in removing Tamás Aján from the IWF.

The IOC issued a statement after Papandrea’s resignation.

“The IOC refers to its previous statements, and continues to be highly concerned about the confusing decisions taken by the Board of the International Weightlifting Federation in the last few days, particularly as regards to the chosen replacements as Acting President, as well as to the global governance of the International Federation”, it said.

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