The Third World Conference on Doping in Sport, organized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with the support of the Spanish High Council for Sport in Madrid (Spain), has brought together more than 1,500 representatives of public authorities, the Sport Movement, the anti-doping community, athletes, observers, and the media to review the major advances that have been made in the fight against doping since WADA’s inception in late 1999, and what strategies will be needed in the future.
As such, the chief topic of discussion this week is the Revised World Anti-Doping Code, the core document adopted in 2003 by the Sport Movement and Governments of the world as the framework for the global harmonized fight against doping in sport. The purpose of the revision is to leverage the experience gained to date and to strengthen anti-doping programs worldwide.
The World Conference is being held over a period of two and a half days, from November 15 – 17, 2007.
Summary of Day 1 (November 15)
Day 1 of the World Conference (November 15) provided an opportunity for attendees to consider the brief but very dynamic period since WADA’s inception in 1999, the progress that has occurred, and what new strategies should be considered for future advances in anti-doping.
- Finance Session: WADA was created on the basis that it would be funded equally by the Olympic Movement and the Governments of the world. In the early days (2000-2001), the Olympic Movement alone funded WADA in order to allow governments to organize their contributions and to agree amongst themselves on a share split. Since 2002, the Olympic Movement has been matching all of the government payments, dollar for dollar. In 2002-2003, government funding was relatively low, however, since 2005, payments have been coming in earlier in the year and more regularly, thereby greatly improving cash flow and the ability to follow-through on all planned projects.
- Education: The current Education strategy at WADA was developed with prevention as its key focus. To be effective, preventive anti-doping education needs to offer a sustained process of developing and integrating values in individuals, at the earliest age possible, that will help them make the choice, when it arises, of not engaging in cheating or doping. WADA’s education activities are geared to assisting stakeholders with promoting and instilling the Spirit of Sport values; and targeting youth as well as casting a broader net to reach all of the actors from a youth’s and future athlete’s major circles of influence.
- Athletes: Athlete Outreach continues to be an important program in reaching out to and interacting with the athletes of the world. With the goal of raising awareness about WADA and the anti-doping issue, Athlete Outreach is an important platform for providing information in a fun and engaging way at major events worldwide. The WADA Athlete Outreach model was launched in 2006 in an effort to provide stakeholders all the tools necessary to deliver their own outreach activities. The program is turn-key and available at no cost. All stakeholders should be engaging in some form of outreach to ensure that their athletes understand the dangers of doping and their responsibilities under the Code.
- Science: WADA has multiple activities in the science and medical areas. WADA assumed the responsibility for managing the process for maintaining and annually updating the Prohibited List. WADA also established, in 2001, the first and only internationally coordinated scientific research program for the improvement and development of new anti-doping methods and the detection of new drugs. Since 2001, WADA has dedicated more that US$31 million to scientific research. WADA gained responsibility for laboratory accreditation and reaccreditation in 2004 and has worked to harmonize laboratory activities and processes.
- Medical: Since its creation, WADA has sharpened its strategies relating to athlete health, especially in relation to the Athlete Passport concept, or the longitudinal follow-up of athlete biological parameters recorded in a “passport” to allow the identification, indirectly, of abnormal profiles due to the use of banned substances or methods.
- Future Strategies: Looking toward the future evolution of the fight against doping in sport, new strategies are being considered and incorporated. For example, investigations that break up major doping networks, involving the work of law enforcement authorities brings new hope in helping to attack source and supply, while removing those who dope from sporting competition. In this respect, WADA and its stakeholders are developing model protocols for the sharing of investigatory evidence to enhance the fight against doping.
Day 2 (November 16) will be dedicated to the Revised World Anti-Doping Code and interventions made by delegates from the Governments and the Sports Movement. On the morning of Day 3 (November 17), Conference Conclusions and Resolutions will be considered for adoption.
Additional information in relation to the Conference can be found at www.wadamadrid2007.com, available in English, Spanish and French. Live Web casts and daily recordings of the plenary sessions of the Conference are also available from this Web site.