(ATR) As the Russian doping saga enters its fifth year, a new generation of leadership at the World Anti-Doping Agency will take a turn at resolving the seemingly intractable crisis.
WADA President Witold Banka (ATR)
Witold Banka takes over Jan. 1 as president of WADA. The Polish minister of sport was elected to the post in November, succeeding Craig Reedie, IOC member in Great Britain who’s held the post for a full six year term. Reedie is due to retire from the IOC in 2021.
Banka, 35, is the youngest ever of the three other presidents for WADA since its founding 20 years ago. A member of three government cabinets, Banka was an elite level sprinter for Poland, competing at the international level.
He comes to WADA as the Russian doping scandal heads towards another Olympic and Paralympic year crisis.
Banka will lead WADA through the outcome of the appeal by Russia of WADA’s December ruling that its athletes and officials should face four more years in the dock for the latest sins of Russian doping officials. Russia is now accused of falsifying and manipulation of Moscow drug lab data sought by WADA as a final condition for restoring Russia to good standing after sanctions imposed prior to the 2016 Games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to rule early in 2020 after hearings that have not yet been scheduled. It seems likely that the IOC and international federations will soon be faced with complying with the outcome of the appeal, which could modify the sanctions proposed by WADA. Disputes could persist up to the opening of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Banka will work with a new vice chair, Chinese Olympian Yang Yang, a former IOC member during her term on the Athletes Commission. Still to come in March is the naming of new standing committees including the Athlete and Compliance Review groups. Both will be deeply involved with the Russian case.
Reported by Ed Hula.
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