|WADA Athlete Committee hosts athlete session in Lausanne|
Montreal, 13 June 2022: Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Athlete Committee hosted an important hybrid information-sharing and discussion session for athletes and athlete representatives in Lausanne, Switzerland. With 60 registrants, the session brought together athletes and athlete representatives from across the world for a half-day session with the aim of engaging athletes, updating them on developments in the world of anti-doping and listening to their points of view.
The session was held the day after WADA’s 2022 Annual Symposium wrapped up, reinforcing the importance of athlete involvement in clean sport while underscoring the Agency’s commitment to be more athlete-centered. Specifically, the session addressed topics such as WADA’s governance reforms, the development of the Agency’s new 20-person Athlete Council and recruitment of an Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds as part of a pilot project approved by WADA last year. A broader discussion was also held on the anti-doping system, and hearing from athletes on where possible ‘pain points’ were in the system that athletes could support WADA in addressing going forward.
In particular, the meeting heard how the process of WADA governance reform, which started in 2016, had resulted in a shift towards more representation for athletes within WADA’s decision-making and advisory bodies, including more places on the Agency’s Foundation Board, Executive Committee and all Standing Committees. There was a discussion focusing on transitional elements related to the formation of the WADA Athlete Council and how members will be selected by other athletes, including via an upcoming election. The session discussed how best to recruit candidates for the election and it also heard about the role, status and scope of the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds.
WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Ben Sandford, said: “This athlete session was a great opportunity to engage directly with athletes and athlete representatives from around the world, to respond to their questions, and listen to their views on how to improve the global anti-doping system. It was also a chance to update them on matters that affect them most and listen to their feedback. There were many constructive discussions and I think everyone came away with plenty to think about.
“On behalf of WADA’s Athlete Committee, I would like to thank those athletes and representatives who took the time to join us, either in person or virtually. Now more than ever, it is important to engage athletes in the area of anti-doping and put them at the center of WADA’s decision-making.
“In the short-term, let’s ensure the success of the election for the Athlete Council positions. If you are an athlete and are passionate about improving athlete representation within anti-doping, please contact your International Federation’s Athlete Committee to enquire about having them put you forward for election to WADA’s Athlete Council.”
Part of the session was attended by WADA President, Witold Bańka, who is a former international 400m runner for Poland. WADA Vice-President, Yang Yang, who is a two-time Olympic champion in short-track speed-skating, addressed the meeting with a video message.
Mr. Bańka said: “This session was a great opportunity for WADA to listen to athletes and take on board their ideas on how to shape the future of anti-doping for the good of athletes everywhere. It was also a chance for WADA to discuss its recent governance reforms with athletes, including the formation of an exciting new Athlete Council, as well as the pilot project on the Athletes’ Anti-doping Ombuds.
“I thank Ben and the rest of the Athlete Committee for leading this session. It was a pleasure for me to be among fellow athletes and it is clear that we must continue to empower them so their anti-doping journey is easier, so they are part of the decision-making process, and so they can build healthy and sustainable careers in sport. This is how they will inspire the next generation of athletes to do the same.”
Please find images from today’s Athlete session. These are rights-free for editorial purposes with the appropriate credit (WADA).Media Contact James Fitzgerald
Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications