WADA leadership meets with Brazilian and Argentinian partners during visit to South America
As part of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) strategic priority to collaborate with and unite stakeholders, WADA President Witold Bańka and Director General Olivier Niggli have been in South America this week to meet with a number of key anti-doping partners and government officials from Brazil and Argentina.
On Tuesday, in Brasília, the capital of Brazil, Mr. Bańka and the WADA delegation had the opportunity to meet with the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Brazil’s Minister for Sports, Ana Moser. Also present at the meeting were representatives from the Brazilian Authority for Doping Control (ABCD), with the discussions centering around the importance of funding, building the National Anti-Doping Organization’s (NADO) knowledge and capacity, WADA-accredited laboratory development and education initiatives in the region.
Mr. Bańka said: “Brazil is one of the great sporting nations of the world, and sport has always played a significant role in society there. The conversations we had this week in Brazil were productive. I discussed with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Minister Ana Moser how to strengthen the anti-doping program for athletes in Brazil.”
Ms. Moser said: “It was very important for the Ministry of Sports to welcome Mr. Bańka and the WADA delegation this week. The guidance, partnership and support of the World Anti-Doping Agency will be essential for us to continue to strengthen the National Anti-Doping Policy. I am sure that Brazil will continue to be a protagonist in the fight for clean sport.”
Earlier in the week, the WADA contingent was in Rio de Janeiro, where they met with the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), Paulo Wanderley, as well as members of the COB Athletes’ Commission, where Mr. Bańka emphasized WADA’s priority to be athlete-centered and engaged directly with a number of elite athletes, who were in attendance.
On Thursday and Friday, the WADA delegation was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they met with: Mario Moccia, President of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA); Alicia Morea, COA Vice-President and former WADA Education Committee member; and the COA’s Athletes’ Commission.
During the Argentina leg of the visit, the WADA delegation also met separately with Dr. Diego Grippo, President of the Argentinian NADO and current member of WADA’s NADO Expert Advisory Group and representatives from the Argentinian NADO along with Matías Lammens, Minister of Tourism and Sport; and Inés Arrondo, National Secretary of Sports and former Olympic field hockey player.
Mr. Bańka said: “WADA has always had a good relationship with Argentina. The government continues to take steps to support anti-doping through the hosting of various regional seminars, including the upcoming Latin America Education Seminar scheduled in a couple of weeks. In our discussions with the authorities, we stressed the importance of increasing the financial resources provided to the Argentinian NADO to ensure it is implementing a quality anti-doping program in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code."
Mr. Lammens said: “We greatly appreciate Mr. Bańka and the WADA team spending time with us this week. Our meetings were enriching and informative, and this visit will undoubtedly contribute to even closer working relations between Argentinian sports community and the anti-doping movement. I am pleased that we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss initiatives that will work to ensure that athletes are competing in a fair and clean environment.”
Mr. Bańka and Mr. Niggli were accompanied on this South American visit by WADA Director of NADO/RADO Relations, Tom May and Director of WADA’s Latin America Office, María José Pesce Cutri