19 January 2010

No Time to Rest on our Laurels, Cautions WADA President

On the occasion of WADA’s fifth Media Symposium, held on January 19 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, WADA’s President John Fahey urged all parties involved in the fight against doping in sport to further intensify their efforts toward clean sport and not to succumb to complacency despite significant progress in the past decade.

“It would be easy for the two groups that compose and fund WADA – governments and the sport movement – to tell themselves that with WADA they have got the formula or the rules right, that they have got the structure and the resources right. The problem of doping has not disappeared with WADA,” said Mr Fahey. “To rest on our laurels at this time would be a huge mistake.”

In his “State of Anti-Doping” speech, WADA’s President expressed confidence that the evolution of the global fight against doping will bring further advances. “During the past 12 months, the global fight against doping in sport has continued to advance significantly under WADA’s leadership and guidance,” he said. “As WADA celebrated its tenth anniversary, 2009 reflected the positive impact of some of the innovations fostered by the Agency and showed a clear sign of the evolution of the fight against doping in sport.

“The traditional anti-doping model has continued to evolve from a strategy focusing only on the athlete and relying mainly on testing, research and education, to a model incorporating the athlete’s entourage and the upstream elements of doping. I am confident that this enhanced model, which incorporates new, additional ideas and strategies borrowed from other fields, will continue to help us protect the integrity of sport and the health of athletes with ever more efficiency.”

Mr Fahey referred in particular to the recent development and approval by WADA’s Executive Committee of harmonized protocols and operating guidelines for the Athlete Biological Passport, which any anti-doping organization can now implement. He also spoke of the enhanced cooperation of anti-doping authorities with law enforcement, including Interpol, as well as WADA’s growing cooperation with pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies, and an increase in anti-doping organizations using the possibility to reanalyze doping control samples as science advances.

WADA’s President, however, cautioned that the challenges ahead are many. “We must constantly challenge ourselves and the efficacy of our current programs,” he said. “At the forefront of our efforts must be a values-based education program. Going forward, anti-doping organizations must also implement smarter programs. We must use modern technology to simplify our methodologies.”

“Today,” he concluded, “athletes who play fair in sport can have increasing confidence that major progress is being made in the fight against doping and that the net is closing around the cheaters. WADA will continue to work relentlessly to further close the net and meet the challenges in the years to come.”