As the saga of the doping by Russian athletes enters its fifth year, new leadership at the World Anti-Doping Agency will take over. Witold Banka takes over January 1 as president of WADA. Elected to the post in November, the Polish minister of sport is succeeding Craig Reedie, who is retiring from the IOC in 2021.
Banka is the third presidents of WADA since its founding 20 years ago. A member of three government cabinets. He comes to WADA as the Russian doping scandal starts another year. Banka will lead WADA through the appeal process of WADA’s December ruling.
Will IOC lift sanctions on Russian athletes?
Because Russia is accused of falsifying drug lab data, its athletes and officials are facing four more years of sanctions. The IOC will be faced with complying with the outcome of when the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules in 2020. Which might modify the sanctions proposed by WADA. Disputes could persist up to the opening of the Olympics and Paralympics.
New Vice Chair
The vice chair will be Chinese Olympian Yang Yang, a former member of the Athletes Commission. New standing committees including the Athlete and Compliance Review groups will be named in March.
Will Olympic drug testing expand?
Banka’s has an idea to expand WADA’s reach into countries where testing is often nonexistent but, has run into immediate pushback. The president-elect of the World Anti-Doping Agency, is full of ideas.
Banka this week proposed the creation of a solidarity mechanism that would provide drug testing in parts of the world where it is almost nonexistent. It is a bold initiative, and an expensive one. Banka has proposed financing by corporate sponsors. “This is ridiculous we have less than $40 million and we are the global regulator of antidoping,” Banka said. Contributions from public bodies form WADA’s budget. The largest contributions come from the United States, and the International Olympic Committee.
Banka said this week that sponsors should help out financially. He raised the idea of a solidarity fund in remarks Tuesday at a WADA conference held in his hometown. Later, he expanded on his proposal in an interview with The New York Times.