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  • Witold Banka Nominated for WADA Presidency


    (ATR) The leadership of the World Anti Doping Agency takes a turn toward youth.

    Witold Banka is the choice to be WADA's next president (Wikipedia)
    Witold Banka, the 34-year old Minister of Sport and Tourism for Poland, is the nominee for the next term as WADA president. 

    Marcos Diaz, an Olympian from Dominican Republic and the vice minister of sport was the other candidate.

    The nomination was decided by secret ballot among the 18 members of the 36-member WADA Foundation Board who represent public authorities. It’s the turn of the public authorities to take the WADA leadership, which rotates with sport.

    Banka will be the youngest-ever president among the three men who have served in the post so far.

    For the past six years IOC member in the U.K. Craig Reedie has held the post representing sport. His predecessor, Australian John Fahey, was chosen by the public authorities in 2007. Canada’s Richard Pound, now IOC doyen, served as the first president of WADA from 2000, representing sport.

    Banka will not take over the role until the World Conference on Doping in Sport this November in Katowice, Poland. But he’ll shadow Reedie in the coming months as part of the transition to new leadership.

    United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who has been critical of WADA actions in the Russian doping crisis, says he welcomes Banka's selection.

    "We appreciate the opportunity to have met with him recently and to discuss the hope for a strong and independent WADA going forward. We are excited and ready to get to work with him and those committed to protecting clean sport to achieve the mutual goals of restoring trust to the organization with athletes and the public, most importantly giving all athletes a true voice in the fight against doping," Tygart said in a statement.

    The nomination comes on the eve of WADA meetings in Montreal May 15 and 16. On Wednesday the executive committee will meet behind closed doors. On Thursday the Foundation Board meeting follows, an open meeting.

    Ratification of the presidential nomination of the public authorities will likely be one of the non-controversial matters on the agenda.

    Findings of an independent report on bullying allegations made by WADA Athletes Commission chair Beckie Scott are expected. Whether the report heals a rift between some athletes and WADA will remain to be seen. Scott, who is a member of the Foundation Board and Executive Committee, elected not to participate in the investigation into her charges. Edwin Moses, chair of the WADA Education Committee, also refused to speak with the investigators.

    Scott raised the allegations following an Executive Committee meeting last September in the Seychelle Islands. She says she was subject to snickering and other intimidating behavior by colleagues at the meeting as she tried to object to WADA’s handling of the Russian doping scandal.

    An update is expected on Russian compliance with WADA standards seven months after the Russian Anti Doping Agency was reinstated after a three year suspension. WADA is currently reviewing the data it collected from the still-suspended Moscow doping lab. The testing results could reveal additional cases of suspected doping beyond those already uncovered.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.
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