WADA collaborates with anti-doping partners to promote clean sport during 2023 Asian Games

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to share its plan to promote clean sport through its Athlete Engagement and Independent Observer (IO) teams during the 2023 Asian Games. The Games will run from 23 September until 8 October in Hangzhou, China and feature more than 12,000 athletes from 45 countries, which will compete in 481 medal events across 40 sports. 

WADA’s Athlete Engagement initiatives are in place to raise awareness about doping-free sport among athletes and their support personnel. 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. 

WADA President Witold Bańka, who will be on site in Hangzhou for the opening ceremony said: “Sport plays an important role in everyday life and culture in Asia, and the continent is a key ally in protecting clean sport. With that in mind, WADA is looking forward to collaborating with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) and other stakeholders at this highly anticipated edition of the Asian Games. Our Athlete Engagement team will be on hand to connect with athletes and support personnel. WADA would like to highlight the OCA’s longstanding support of the Athlete Engagement program who we are pleased to be working closely with once again at these Games. 

“Meanwhile, our Independent Observer team will be monitoring and reporting on the anti-doping process in collaboration with CHINADA; the International Testing Agency (ITA), who is responsible for implementing the anti-doping program on behalf of the OCA; and, the local organizing committee. These Games represent an important opportunity for WADA to continue to champion its mission for doping-free sport and raise the game for athletes around the world.” 

Athlete Engagement 

WADA’s Athlete Engagement team will be present at the Asian Games to deliver the ‘One Play True Team’ campaign while raising awareness and promoting clean sport. The team will run the program jointly with the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency and the Olympic Council of Asia. 

The athlete-led team includes: 

  • Na Ra Kim (Korea), former international gymnast, Korean Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Committee Member, Doping Control officer and sport educator; 
  • Jonathan Chan Fan Keng (Singapore), Olympic diver; Asian Diving Cup gold medalist; 
  • Shiva Keshavan (India), six-time Olympian in luge and 10-time Asian Games medalist; 
  • Wang Yu (China), two-time Olympian in high jump and Asian Games gold medalist; 
  • Hong Zhang (China), WADA Athlete Council Member, International Olympic Committee Athlete Committee Member and Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating; 
  • Stacy Spletzer-Jegen (USA), WADA Senior Manager, Athlete Engagement; and 
  • Mari Miki (Japan), WADA Asia/Oceania Office Coordinator 

Ms. Hong Zhang said: “WADA’s Athlete Engagement team is eager to get to Hangzhou for the 2023 Asian Games. The large number of athletes in attendance represents a remarkable opportunity to converse with thousands of competitors and support personnel members from all over the continent. This group is diverse, experienced and knowledgeable, and will undoubtedly provide incredible value to the athletes competing at these Games.” 

Independent Observer (IO) Program 

WADA will also be running an IO program during the Asian Games. The anti-doping program of the Games will be operated by the ITA on behalf of the OCA with support from CHINADA, International Federations and the local organizing committee. WADA’s IO team will collaborate with the various organizations to help strengthen the program. 

Providing daily feedback to the organizers, the IO team will observe all aspects of the Games’ anti-doping program, 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; and 
  • Results management. 

Following the Games, the IO team will issue a report that will formalize observations and recommendations designed to enhance anti-doping activities for future events. 

The IO Team consists of: 

  • Nick Paterson (New Zealand), Chief Executive Officer, Drug Free Sport New Zealand (Chair); 

  • Louis Duparc-Portier (France), Manager, WADA Compliance Unit (Vice-Chair);  

  • Saravana Perumal Shanmugam (India), Manager, WADA Asia/Oceania Office; 

  • Merey Tan (Singapore), General Manager, Anti-Doping Singapore; and 

  • Gaby Ahrens (Namibia), Vice-Chair of the WADA Athlete Council and Olympic sport shooter.