WADA announces Independent Observer teams for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris


With the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, France quickly approaching, athletes and teams from around the world are in the final phase of training for their spotlight moments during the Games, which will take place from 26 July – 11 August and from 28 August – 8 September 2024, respectively.  

Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Independent Observer (IO) program teams are also busy preparing for their missions.   

WADA’s IO program is designed to enhance athlete and public confidence as to the quality, effectiveness, and reliability of anti-doping programs during major international multisport events.  

The anti-doping program at the Olympic Games will be managed by the International Testing Agency (ITA), on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), while the anti-doping program at the Paralympic Games will be managed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Both programs will be delivered in conjunction with the Anti-Doping Department of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee and supported by the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage. All samples collected during the Games will be analyzed by the Laboratoire AntiDopage Français, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Paris.  

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA’s Independent Observer teams for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games are made up of a diverse and experienced group of anti-doping professionals and elite athletes. Their work may go on behind the scenes to those watching the Games around the world, but the Independent Observer teams are critical to providing a level playing field for all Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The work they will do during and following the Games will provide a framework for best practices and adjustments that can be carried over to other major events in the years to come.” 

Providing daily feedback to the organizers, the IO team will observe all aspects of the Games’ anti-doping programs, including:   

  • Test distribution planning and implementation;   

  • Recruitment and training of sample collection personnel;   

  • Athlete selection, notification and sample collection procedures;   

  • Transport and chain of custody of samples;   

  • Therapeutic Use Exemption procedures;  

  • Results management; and 

  • Laboratory operations (for Olympics only).  

The IO team for the Olympic Games consists of: 

  • Mr. Darren Mullaly (Australia), Deputy CEO, Strategy and International Engagement, Sport Integrity Australia (Chair); 
  • Ms. Dan-Thanh Tran (Canada), Head of Testing Compliance, WADA (Vice-Chair); 
  • Ms. Françoise Dagouret (Switzerland), Manager, Testing, WADA; 
  • Dr. Maira Bakasheva (Kazakhstan), Director, Kazakhstan Anti-doping Centre; 
  • Mr. Iñaki Gomez (Canada), two-time Olympian (race walking) and WADA Athlete Council member; and 
  • Mr. Vinicius Sardela (Brazil), Senior Manager, Laboratory Operations, WADA. 

WADA will run a similar IO program during the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. The IO team for the Paralympic Games consists of: 

  • Mr. Diego Grippo (Argentina), President, Comisión Nacional Antidopage Argentina (Chair); 

  • Mr. Valentin Capelli (France), Manager, Sport Movement Relations, WADA (Vice-Chair); 

  • Mr. Patrick O’Leary (Ireland), two-time Paralympian (paracanoe) and WADA Athlete Council member; 

  • Ms. Rym Zerifi (Tunisia), Executive Manager, North Africa Regional Anti-Doping Organization; and 

  • Ms. Seena Omar Hatuqay (Jordan), Secretary General, West Asia Regional Anti-Doping Organization. 

Following the Games, the IO teams will issue respective reports that will formalize observations and recommendations designed to enhance anti-doping activities for future events.  

More about WADA’s Paris 2024 preparations 

In the lead-up to the Games, WADA has collaborated with its partners to ensure athletes are well informed and prepared for Paris 2024.  

In October 2023, WADA announced the launch of an education course for athletes and coaches aiming to attend Paris 2024, on its Anti-Doping Education and Learning Platform (ADEL), called ‘ADEL for Paris 2024 Olympic Games’. The course was developed by WADA in collaboration with the IOC and ITA. 

In February 2024, WADA launched a new education course for athletes, their guides (for visually impaired athletes), and coaches aiming to attend the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games on ADEL. ‘ADEL for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games’ was developed by WADA in collaboration with the IPC.  

This is a demonstration of the organizations’ ongoing commitment to working together to educate and support athletes and their coaches in the build-up to the Games, a principle that is reinforced by WADA’s International Standard for Education (ISE).   

WADA also supports the work of the IOC’s Pre-Games anti-doping program that is being coordinated by the International Testing Agency and a group of anti-doping experts, which was launched in October 2023, as well as the IPC’s Anti-Doping Taskforce, which aims to assist Anti-Doping Organizations in implementing and coordinating effective testing programs on athletes that are likely to participate in the Olympic or Paralympic Games.