2 October 2015

WADA and JADA highlight values at 2015 International Athlete Forum for 2020

Athletes lead the charge for clean sport values in Tokyo

Athletes sent a positive message on the values of sport at today’s “2015 International Athlete Forum for 2020”. The athlete-centered Forum, which was held in Tokyo from 1-2 October, was co-hosted by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA); the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA); and, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).  It was the first of its kind, which is as part of ’PLAY TRUE 2020‘, ‘Sport for Tomorrow’ the ‘Tokyo 2020 Legacy Project and ‘Tokyo’s ‘2020 Young Athlete Project’. More than 100 young athletes who are vying to compete at Tokyo 2020, and other leading athletes who have retired from elite sport, joined the Forum.

WADA’s Athlete Committee members Claudia Bokel, Ben Sandford and Koji Murofushi (who is also Tokyo 2020’s Sports Director); as well as, UK Anti-Doping athlete role model, Eilish McColgan, joined the Japanese ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ and the JADA Athlete Committee members at the Forum. Participants included JADA Athlete Committee chair and founding WADA Athlete Committee member, Yoko Tanabe.

This was also the first international forum for former Olympic gold medalist Dr. Daichi Suzuki, who became Commissioner for the Japan Sports Agency on 1 October. He is also a former WADA Athlete Committee member and is currently on the JADA Athlete Committee.

In his opening address, Dr. Suzuki, said: “Anti-doping activity is in place to protect the values of sport and safeguard the rights of all athletes. I hope this memorable forum will help promote the power of sport.”

WADA and Japan also held a signing ceremony, in order to renew the Japanese government’s commitment to clean sport.

WADA’s regional directors staged two panels to help illustrate their activities and the challenges they have successfully adopted to implement a standardized approach for the protection of clean athletes worldwide. The athletes attending the Forum discussed how they could use their power to disseminate positive messages for the future of sport and for the youth of tomorrow.

“The International Athlete Forum in Tokyo provided an excellent opportunity for the anti-doping community to promote sporting values, including the importance of fair play and clean sport,” said WADA Director General, David Howman. “Involving former elite athletes to relay these messages to aspiring athletes was an innovative and effective way of carrying the clean sport message.”

The “PLAY TRUE 2020 Torch Relay” project was introduced by Koji Murofushi and JADA Senior Manager, YaYa Yamamoto.  In line with the theme of the Forum, the project enables athletes from numerous countries, sports and generations to relay the ‘truth’ as discovered through sport in a Japanese scroll, called a makimono.  

On the second day of the forum, more than 100 young athletes were presented as the ’Leaders of Tomorrow‘. Led by JADA Athlete Committee member, Megumi Ikeda, these aspiring athletes were grouped with the former leading elite athletes.  Together, they experienced the ’Let’s New MO!’ activity, a new generation of sumo conceived by Koji Murofushi. Based on its ‘Fair for All, Respect and Fun’ principle and values, the athletes discussed ways to come up with appropriate rules and tried their own New MO!

Following this activity, Yoko Tanabe, JADA’s Athlete Committee Chair, said: “the two-day Forum was hugely successful. It is increasingly important for the ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ to think about the rules as they relate to the values of sport, which is something we all cherish. I am very pleased that young athletes sent a clear message out for their future of their sport.” 

PLAY TRUE 2020 will continue to highlight the positive values in sport for the development of young people and for the benefit of wider society.

PLAY TRUE 2020, Sport for Tomorrow – Project site