Intarat vows to salvage his reputation

Intarat vows to salvage his reputation

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) vice-president Intarat Yodbangtoey insisted on Wednesday he did not buy his way into the position.

The Thai official told a press conference that the 2017 IWF election, held in Bangkok, was conducted in a straighforward manner.

An investigation, led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, found widespread corruption and dozens of covered up drugs tests when the IWF was under former president Tamas Ajan.

The report also uncovered corruption in the IWF's appointments process.

"The two most recent electoral congresses were rampant with vote buying for the president and senior level positions of the executive board," the report said.

The report did not name Intarat but a website accused him of being involved in vote buying, quoting an official who claimed he received money from the Thai.

Maj Gen Intarat said he did not have to buy votes because he was the only candidate for the position in the 2017 polls.

Intarat said the person had emailed him to deny that he had accused him of buying votes.

"I will consult my lawyers ... to salvage my reputation," said Intarat, a former president of the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association [Tawa]. "We will discuss whether we should take legal action. Personally I want unity in weightlifting and want to help restore its reputation."

He admitted that he did not see eye to eye with Ajan, who stepped down as IWF president in April following allegations of corruption made in a documentary broadcast by German outlet ARD.

Intarat said he had been at odds with the 81-year-old Hungarian probably because he called for an independent body to conduct doping tests on athletes in 2018.

Several Thai athletes tested positive at the 2018 world championships. As a result, Thai weightlifters have been banned from competing in international events, including the Tokyo Olympics.

Tawa has appealed the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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