The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) joins the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, and offers its condolences to his family and to the people of South Africa.
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate and statesman, Mr. Mandela’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations.
“WADA would particularly like to recognize Mr. Mandela’s ongoing commitment to fair play and sport,” said John Fahey, WADA’s President. “He was a positive, tireless supporter.”
“Madiba,” as he was affectionately called by his fellow South Africans, was known for his love of sport and for his belief that sport has a vital role in building a healthy future for a country’s youth.
“Sport has the power to change the world,” Mandela once said. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
Three weeks ago, leaders in the anti-doping community from around the world came together in Johannesburg for the Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport. The event saw the approval of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and accompanying International Standards, and the adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration – all major milestones for clean sport.
Timing of the event becomes particularly poignant given the city of Johannesburg is home to the Mandela family, and that South African leaders played key roles as Conference hosts and contributors.
During his opening address, Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport, Sport and Recreation South Africa, observed, “We must, as nations of the world, create an environment that will ensure that when future generations reflect upon our times, they would point to our sports fields, courts – wherever sport is played – and say, ‘This is where honesty, integrity, honour, valor and truthfulness prevailed, and must continue to prevail.”
Minister Mbalula’s words reflect the spirit of the Conference, and that of Mr. Mandela.