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  • Europe Chooses Its WADA Presidential Candidate


    01/31/19

    (ATR) Polish sports minister Witold Banka is Europe's choice to become the next WADA president.

    Witold Banka (Wikipedia)
    Banka defeated former Norwegian government minister Linda Helleland and the Flemish Minister of Sports of the Belgian government Philippe Muyters in voting held during the 45th extraordinary meeting of the European Ad Hoc Committee on WADA (CAHAMA) in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

    The final tally had Banka with 28 votes, Helleland 16 and Muyters five.

    "Europe has chosen me as official candidate for the position of the President of @wada_ama. It is a great honour for me!" Banka wrote on Twitter.

    The result was a clear defeat not only for Helleland but for those supporting a tougher stance on Russia in the wake of the doping scandal. The WADA vice president voiced her opposition to WADA’s decision in September to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency despite RUSADA having failed to meet all of the conditions for a return to the fold. She wanted all the conditions to be met for reinstatement.

    Banka, who is 34 and was a sprinter before entering politics, says he favors a new way forward in dealing with the Russian doping aftermath.

    The main points of his program include construction of the international NADO network (National Anti-Doping Organizations) through funding from the Solidarity Anti-Doping Fund, increasing the involvement of players in the fight against doping, a change of approach to anti-doping laboratories - focusing on quality and quantity, and ensuring close cooperation between governments, sports movement, NADO and all stakeholders.

    Banka, who is a member of the WADA Executive Board, must still be confirmed by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers at a meeting scheduled for February 27, but that is considered a formality.

    So far, his only opposition appears to be former Dominican Republic swimmer Marcos Diaz. Candidates have until May to join the race.

    The election to choose the successor to Craig Reedie as WADA president will be held in November in Katowice, Poland. Reedie, who has served since 2013, represents the sport movement and under WADA rules the next president must be a government representative.

    Written by Gerard Farek

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