European Weightlifting Federation President Damjan Canzek will be overlooking a demonstration weightlifting event in Slovenia during the 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival ©Damjan Canzek

The European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) is confident that the sport will feature at the European Games after a decision taken by the European Olympic Committees (EOC).

It will not happen this year in Kraków-Małopolska in Poland, but the chances for the 2027 Games are good, claims EWF President Antonio Conflitti.

While no venue has been announced for 2027, Split in Croatia is believed to be the likeliest host.

The reason for Conflitti's optimism is a decision taken by the EOC to promote weightlifting at one of its flagship events in Maribor in Slovenia.

Along with other sports, weightlifting will be promoted in Glavni Trg, Maribor's central square, while the city hosts the 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), due to take place from July 23 until 29.

"Damjan Canzek, President of the Weightlifting Federation of Slovenia, will be directly involved in organising a demonstration competition and in promoting our sport in the most attractive way during the European Olympic Committees' event," said an EWF statement.

"The decision gives us confidence about the confirmation of our sport's inclusion in the European Games and EYOF's programmes in the near future," said Conflitti.

Whether the European Games, if it happens, would double up as the Continental Championships cannot be discussed until much later because there are so many "unknowns".

This include is weightlifting in the programme for Los Angeles 2028, what the qualifying procedures will be, how many weight categories in the Olympics and other International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) events, and whether two platforms might become the norm in future for bigger championships?

The European Games would not want a weightlifting competition that runs for nine to 12 days, which the European and World Championships have done since qualifying for Paris 2024 began.

The 17th edition of the European Youth Summer Olympic Festival is due to be held in Maribor from July 23 to 29 ©Maribor Tourist Board
The 17th edition of the European Youth Summer Olympic Festival is due to be held in Maribor from July 23 to 29 ©Maribor Tourist Board

Conflitti and his Executive Board have made several key improvements in the way the EWF is governed.

A new constitution, in line with the IWF governance structure, was approved two days before the start of the European Championships which ended in Yerevan, Armenia's capital, yesterday.

It includes the creation of a new EWF Athletes' Commission and vetting of electoral candidates, and was described by Conflitti as "a very important moment for our European weightlifting community".

The decision was also deemed "great news - a very big deal for us" by Forrester Osei, chair of the IWF Athletes' Commission.

Also in line with the IWF, the EWF has moved to a new headquarters in Switzerland.

During the European Championships, it announced the move to Zurich as "a significant step towards supporting the growth of weightlifting across Europe and beyond".

"By choosing to work under Swiss law, which is specifically adapted for sports organisations, the EWF hopes to offer several benefits to the sport and the federation."

The EWF's other achievements in 2022 include setting up a new website and enhanced social media accounts, agreeing a new partnership with the marketing company Sportfive, media partnerships with the International Sports Press Association to promote Europe’s weightlifters, new awards for top athletes, piloting a coaching licence scheme for the IWF, holding seminars and informal meetings online, and other administrative improvements.

Also, for the first time, the EWF invited one international technical official, Abdulla Aljarmal from Yemen, to its Continental Championships "to provide better objectivity", the result of a new agreement between its Federations.

"Things are definitely moving in the right direction," Conflitti said.