20 September 2011

WADA reaches out at All Africa Games

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had a significant presence at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique in September as it looked to spread the anti-doping message to the finest athletes from across the region, and sports fans in Africa.

WADA had Outreach, Independent Observer (IO) and Africa Regional Office teams at the multi-sport event, and the staff used their expertise to reach out to the 5,000 sportsmen and sportswomen.

It was also an opportunity to highlight developments made by the Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs) in Africa, which are assisted by WADA’s Regional Office in Cape Town..

Africa RADOs Under the guidance of WADA Regional Director for Africa, Rodney Swigelaar, the African RADOs have made significant progress in the last few years.

There are six RADOs in Africa and together they coordinate the anti-doping activities in 45 countries. A key part of their role has been assisting with the creation of National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) within the continent and then advising on particular programs for these countries.

The RADOs have also played an important role in helping 13 countries secure funding for 18 anti-doping projects in Africa in the last couple of years thanks to the support of the UNESCO Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport.

Outreach team A team of anti-doping officers from across Africa joined WADA’s Outreach Senior Manager Stacy Spletzer at the Outreach booth located in the athlete’s village for the duration of the Games.

Ms. Spletzer a veteran of several Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American Games, led the team during a two-week exercise designed to educate athletes, coaches and sports officials to the dangers of doping.

WADA’s Outreach is a tried and tested program developed for major multi-sport events over the last decade, and allows a direct and friendly approach to athletes and their entourages.

Joining the WADA team was Portugal’s marathon legend Rosa Mota. The former Olympic, World and European champion lent her experience and knowledge to the program, and the respect she attracted helped the team make an impression on a greater number of athletes.

Independent Observer team WADA coordinated a three-strong Independent Observer Team in Maputo, which carried out an interactive mission that helped to build on the one employed at the All Africa Games in Algiers in 2007.

With the full support of the Organizing Committee for the All Africa Games (COJA), the IO team attended all the relevant meetings and made a daily report to COJA.

The IO team also produced a written report to be submitted to COJA following completion of the Games.

Africa Regional Office team In addition to WADA’s efforts to reach out to athletes, WADA’s Director Regional Office Rodney Swigelaar spread the anti-doping message to African sports fans through the media.

As well as the pre-Games press conference at the National Stadium Zimpeto, WADA commissioned a local television crew to produce news clips of the Agency’s activities at the Games.