This week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed a record number of over 500 delegates from around the world to its 12th Anti-Doping Organisation (ADO) Symposium, at Palais de Beaulieu, in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss the way forward for protecting the clean athlete. The event, which ran from 14-16 March, attracted anti-doping experts from International Sport Federations (IFs), National Anti-Doping Organisations, Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, Major Games Organisers, WADA-accredited laboratories and other stakeholders; as well as, over 50 international media – all that are integral to the clean sport movement.
As partnership and quality practice under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code (Code) are essential to mounting a successful collaborative campaign for clean sport, the Symposium was centred on the theme ‘Partnering for Quality Practice’ and, ultimately, focused delegates on the clean athlete and the ways and means of protecting their right to clean sport.
“In this year of heightened global interest in anti-doping, WADA’s Symposium provided the Agency and its partners with the perfect opportunity to sit down under one roof and reflect on recent developments; exchange on challenges and opportunities; share best practices; and, generally, take stock regarding how we’re delivering on our common, global, purpose to protect clean sport” said Frédéric Donzé, WADA’s European Regional Office and IF Relations Director, who organised and hosted the event.
During his keynote address, Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President said: “In light of recent events, it is clear that WADA, and the anti-doping community, is facing a pivotal moment in its short history. The public’s confidence has been shattered and it is up to us, the anti-doping community, to right the wrongs and turn this period of adversity into opportunity.” In concluding his address, Reedie added: “Sport has had its wake-up call and the anti-doping community must find some of the answers to the questions posed today if we are to shore up trust, and give sport back its credibility”.
The Symposium included a mix of plenary sessions under the sub-themes: how the 2015 Anti-Doping Code is making a difference; how to capitalize on major events to protect clean athletes; how science can support quality programs; and anti-doping coordination. The last day offered up practical workshops related to: education; testing strategies; results management; sample storage and re-analysis; and doping reporting mechanisms.
The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Anti-Doping Senior Manager Vanessa Webb spoke under the theme “Capitalising on Major Events to Protect Clean Athletes” and presented on preparations for September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The event also featured interviews with Richard W. Pound, WADA’s founding President and Chair of its Independent Commission that investigated and reported upon allegations into doping in Russian athletics; and, Lord Sebastien Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, who discussed his personal story and gave his take regarding anti-doping in light of the Commission’s revelations.