WADA Conference on Doping in Sport: Six key highlights to look out for

This week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be hosting its fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, taking place from 5-7 November in Katowice, Poland.

The Conference is set to bring together representatives from the sport movement, public authorities and anti-doping organisations, along with athletes, other anti-doping experts and members of the media.

One member of the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) team travelling to the conference is Tony Josiah, Head of International and Stakeholder Relations. We caught up with Tony to find out what he’s most looking forward to on the agenda and what he expects the key highlights and learnings to be.

  1. New WADA President

“Wiltold Banka, the former Polish international 400m runner, will be formally elected by the Board as the new President of WADA at just 35 years old, succeeding Sir Craig Reedie. He will take up his post from 1 January 2020, which is exactly one year before the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code is implemented. Mr Banka has a tough task ahead of him given the many challenges facing anti-doping on a global basis. We wish Mr Banka well in delivering on his mandate and seeing through the governance changes at WADA.”

  1. 2021 Code ratified

“The new World Anti-Doping Code will come into effect in January 2021, and it is set to be ratified in Poland this week. Key changes could include a new Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) around people in sport actively trying to prevent someone coming forward with information about doping, which will take the total number of ADRVs to 11, as well as clear definitions around ‘Recreational Athletes’ and ‘Vulnerable Athletes’ to better inform sanctions. Compliance with the Code will remain at the very top of WADA’s agenda.”

  1. International Standard for Education (ISE)

“Education is key to achieving clean sport and I think it will be standing room only at this exciting session to launch the new ISE. It will be good to hear about how it will impact on the World Anti-Doping Programme and clean sport. UKAD has been at the forefront of anti-doping education for many years and it is good to see that the rest of the world now have a set of standards to work to.”

  1. International Standard for Results Management (ISRM)

“The ISRM is also a new International Standard and I am sure this session will attract not just the lawyers but many anti-doping organisations who are involved in managing and reporting Anti-Doping Rule Violations and the Hearings process.” 

  1. WADA celebrating 20 years

“Having worked in anti-doping before the implementation of the first World Anti-Doping Code, it will be a nostalgic moment for me during the session dedicated to reflecting on WADA’s last 20 years. I am sure there will be something of interest for everyone attending the conference as we hear about WADA’s accomplishments, progress and challenges. It will be good to hear of lessons learnt and how these will help the future.” 

  1. Olympic Medal Reallocation Programme

“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be unveiling its Olympic Medal Reallocation Programme, which I’m really looking forward to. As the opportunity for the IOC to provide athletes - who have lost out on an Olympic medal following retesting of a medallist’s sample - with ‘their moment of exposure’, this is so important to get right. It gives the control back to the athletes who have earned medals through commitment and dedication, allowing them to choose where, when and how they will receive them and making sure they get the celebration they deserve, should they want it. At UKAD’s Clean Sport Forum last month, attendees heard from Team GB bobsleigh athlete John Jackson, who is soon to receive his bronze medal from Sochi 2014. He spoke so emotionally and passionately, and hearing this directly from an affected athlete really highlighted how important anti-doping work is. Athletes like John, who were cheated out of their medal moment, fully deserve their time for recognition and celebration”

“It will be a busy three days in Katowice and I look forward to being part of what looks to be a great conference for clean sport.”

The World Conference on Doping in Sport takes place from 5-7 November and you can get all the latest updates via @WADA_ama on Twitter.