Day one of the sold-out Tackling Doping in Sport 2016 saw over 300 delegates from national and international federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations and National Governing Bodies congregate at Twickenham Stadium in London to discuss some of the most pertinent issues in the fight against doping.
UK Anti-Doping’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, formally opened the 2016 conference and highlighted the negative impact on the current media spotlight on sport is having with reports of doping match-fixing and corruption outweighing the reports of human feats of brilliance, skill, talent and endurance.
Nicole went on to state that sports should commit to working with anti-doping agencies by investing in testing programmes in order to do the right thing by supporting and protecting their clean athletes.
Following Nicole’s opening remarks the conference keynote address was given by Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Vice President, International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Sir Craig stated that the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code “provides answers to help us right these wrongs – but they must be practised well by all partners if we are to detect doping, deter and, most importantly, prevent future generations of athletes from going down that path.”
Reedie assured delegates that if evidence was to come to light in other sports or countries of non-compliance he would not hesitate to act saying “if full-blown investigations are to become the norm then we must seriously explore greater funding for this aspect of work.”
Reedie was followed on stage by Dick Pound Chair, WADA Independent Commission and Member of the IOC, to discuss the learnings from the findings of his report in November 2015 and January 2016. Pound spoke passionately about the importance of those who share information on doping with the authorities saying “the world of sport owes whistleblowers a debit of gratitude. That debt is yet to be repaid.”
But Pound was sure to give a rallying cry to sports and Governments to do more to protect sport saying “to date, in my view, when all is said and done, more is said than done.”
The thought provoking morning session was brought to a close by Hajo Seppelt from ARD German Broadcast Television and Antonio Rigozzi, Partner, Levy Kaufmann-Kohler who discussed athletics, Russia, IAAF and beyond. Seppelt spoke passionately about his undercover documentary on doping in Russia, giving the audience much to think about in relation of the role the media plays in protecting sport around the world.
Following the break, two separate seminars continued to provide attendees with the opportunity to interact with presenters and to ask pertinent questions. Joesph de Pencier, CEO of iNADO explored why national anti-doping organisations must be independent and looked at how the importance of large NADO’s starting to work with smaller ones to help their development.
Professor David Cowan from the Drugs Control Centre at King’s College London and Marjolaine Viret, Attorney-at-Law at the University of Neuchatel, explored how science and legal teams can work together to combat challenges after the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code revision.
During the penultimate session Paul Greene from Global Sports Advocates, Jeffrey Benz from Dispute Resolution, Graham Arthur, Director of Legal, UK Anti-Doping and Ian Lynam from Charles Russell Speechlys presented a mock doping trial with delegates helping to decide the sanction for the athlete on trial.
Day one was rounded off by Dr Andrea Gotzmann the CEO of NADA Germany who discussed the Andreas Krieger story, highlighting the importance of anti-doping rules in sport and impact of those rules on athletes.
Day two is set to be another interesting and thought provoking session. Follow us on Twitter @ukantidoping for regular updates from the conference and let us know your thoughts on key topics by using the #TDIS2016 hash tag.
For a full agenda for the conference, visit the Tackling Doping in Sport website.