WADA announces Independent Observer team for Birmingham 2022 World Games

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to announce that it will be running an Independent Observer (IO) program during the Birmingham 2022 World Games in Alabama, U.S.A. that started today, 7 July 2022, and will wrap up on 17 July.

WADA’s IO program, which has been running since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, is intended to provide oversight and instill confidence in both athletes and the public as to the quality, effectiveness, and reliability of anti-doping programs during major international multisport events.

The IO team, outlined below, will provide daily feedback as to possible improvements that could be made to the anti-doping program, which is being operated by the International Testing Agency (ITA) with support from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, on behalf of the International World Games Association (IWGA). The IO team will then issue a post-Games report that will formalize recommendations for the IWGA, the organizing committee and WADA – all designed to enhance anti-doping activities at future events.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “Once again, WADA will have an impartial and multi-skilled Independent Observer team on the ground for the Birmingham 2022 World Games, which will collaborate with the International Testing Agency and other stakeholders to help strengthen the anti-doping program.  We are grateful to the IO team that will suggest improvements in-real time and via the post-event report that will increase protections for athletes going forward.”

Specifically, the IO team will observe:

  • Test distribution planning;
  • Selection of competitors for testing;
  • Notification of doping control;
  • Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) procedures;
  • Chain of custody; and
  • Results management.

The Independent Observer Team

  • Matthew Koop (Canada), Manager, Intelligence and Results, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (Chair);
  • Natalie Grenier (Canada), Manager, Testing, WADA (Vice Chair/Manager); and
  • Manuel Villalobos (Panama) Executive Director, Pan-American Regional Anti-Doping Organization, Panama

About the World Games

The World Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years in the year following each Summer Olympic Games. This year’s World Games will feature about 3,600 world class athletes from more than 100 countries that will compete in 223 medal events across 34 sports