Leading British athletes Ali Jawad and Callum Skinner attended the inaugural World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Global Athlete Forum in Calgary earlier this month to add their weight to the fight for greater rights for clean athletes.
The Forum, which took place from 3-5 June with the theme ‘the sport we want’, facilitated discussion between leading anti-doping experts and 104 athlete representatives from 54 countries, including UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) Athlete Commission members Ali and Callum.
The experts and athletes covered a variety of issues, including the current anti-doping system and how to ensure the athlete’s voice is heard in the decision-making process, resulting in 13 key outcomes. The outcomes were published by the athletes following the Forum and can be viewed in full on the WADA website.
Progress was made on the Charter of Athlete Rights which has been developed by athletes and aims to provide more protection in areas including equal testing and the right to fair justice. UKAD supports the athletes’ call for The Charter to be included within the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code.
Ali Jawad, who won a Paralympic silver medal in powerlifting at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, said: “The opportunity to engage with athletes from around the world on anti-doping was refreshing. Everyone in attendance was determined to fight for the rights of clean athletes competing in a fair environment.
“I believe our collective voice will be a very powerful tool in the process of making future decisions, and we should never underestimate the power of the athlete voice to fight for change.”
Callum Skinner, a member of Great Britain’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medal-winning Team Sprint squad, said: “The Forum was a fantastic way to bring together athletes from all over the world who are keen to do all they can to advance clean sport.
“Athletes are affected the most by cheating and are some of the most passionate voices in sport. As a result, we spoke a lot about how to give these passionate voices a more powerful role in sports governance to ensure our ideas are actioned into meaningful change.”
The UKAD Athlete Commission ensures that the British athlete voice is represented, and provides guidance on anti-doping policy and programmes. It assists in reviewing and recommending effective ways to engage athletes, athlete support personnel and sporting organisations and solicits and shares athlete feedback on all aspects of UKAD programmes and activities. Its remit also includes working with other Athlete Commissions to ensure the wider views of athletes are brought to the attention of UKAD.
For a full list of key outcomes from the Forum, please click here.