Weightlifting changes 'will cause uproar', says Emily Muskett

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Commonwealth champion Emily Muskett says the world's leading weightlifters are "shocked" by dramatic changes to weight classes in the sport.

The International Weightlifting Federationexternal-link (IWF) has revised all 14 divisions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and added six new weight classes for other events.

It is part of a bid to usher in a new era for the sport after a series of doping scandals, which have seen weightlifting's place at Paris 2024 come under threat.

"I think it will cause uproar," Muskett told BBC Sport.

The 28-year-old lifter, who won gold under her maiden name of Godley before marrying her partner in May, usually competes at -69kg.

However, with the new categories - which are expected to be formally approved by the International Olympic Committed this month - she will now have to either lose weight to compete at -64kg or gain it for the -76kg division.

"I'm right bang in the middle and a lot of weightlifters are shocked by the differences (between some of the classes)," she said.

"There is a non-Olympic -71kg division for events like the Worlds, but those aren't much use to people who like me want to compete in the Olympics.

"I've been a reserve for London 2012 and Rio 2016 and this has put a real spanner in the works [for Tokyo 2020]."

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Muskett, who relocated to Melbourne, Australia, this year feels the IWF should have "done more" to engage with athletes in the decision-make process.

However, she feels the sport is making progress towards improving its image and hopes recent punishments combined with the revisions to the sport will ensure weightlifting is included in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Nine nations - including Russia and China - are currently suspended from international weightlifting competitions after three or more of their athletes tested positive for banned substances following the reanalysis of samples from London 2012 and Rio 2016.

"The sport is moving in the right direction although it's a shame it took the retrospective Olympic tests to do so," says the unfunded lifter who combines training with two jobs.

"I get tested in Melbourne by UK Anti-doping all of the time, so we just have to hope the IWF continue to do that across the board and it looks like they are making a start with that so it's looking promising."

After her wedding, moving to Australia and taking up full-time employment Muskett is planning to return to training in the coming months before her comeback competition - the World Championships in November.


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