WADA partners to promote clean sport during the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

commonwealth games 2022

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to outline how it is partnering to promote clean sport during the 22nd Commonwealth Games (Birmingham 2022) in Birmingham, England, which commence today and conclude on 8 August.

WADA President, Witold Bańka, who is on the ground in Birmingham, said: “WADA is thrilled to partner with the Commonwealth Games Federation and other stakeholders to raise awareness about clean sport and protect the integrity of the 22nd Commonwealth Games. Well before the Games, WADA collaborated with the CGF to deliver pre-Games education to athletes and their entourage. Now that we are on site, we have an athlete-led team that is connecting with athletes and entourage about our mission for doping-free sport, and we have an expert-led team that is monitoring and reporting on all phases of the doping control process in collaboration with the CGF and UK Anti-Doping. As is necessary with anti-doping, we are using a multifaceted approach together in order to raise the game for athletes worldwide.”

Athlete Engagement

WADA’s Athlete Engagement Program team, which has been on site at the Birmingham University Village since yesterday and will be until 30 July, is raising awareness about clean sport while making connections with athletes competing at the Games. The team is working closely with another team from UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), which will take over the athlete engagement activities for the remainder of the event.

The athlete-led team includes:

  • Ben Sandford (New Zealand), Chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee (AC) and Olympic skeleton athlete (team lead);
  • Gaby Ahrens (Namibia), member of WADA’s AC and Olympic sport shooter; and
  • Andréanne Morin (Canada), former member of WADA AC and Olympic rower.

In particular, the team will:

  • Encourage athletes and their entourage to engage digitally with WADA’s athlete-focused campaign by sharing ‘Who inspires them to Play True?’;
  • Invite athletes to complete a WADA perception survey; and
  • Raise awareness among athletes of the election campaign, which WADA is holding in October that will see eight athletes being elected to WADA’s new 20-member Athlete Council by the Athlete Commissions of International Federations. The Council will represent, support and promote the voices of athletes on anti-doping matters, and will be the avenue for athletes, chosen by athletes, to assume important seats within WADA’s governing bodies, including seats on the Executive Committee and Foundation Board.

The team will also aim to build stronger relationships with the CGF’s Athlete Advisory Committee, the UKAD Athlete Commission and the Birmingham 2022 Athlete Advisory Committee.

WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Ben Sandford, said: “This Athlete Engagement Program is a great opportunity to speak directly with athletes from all Commonwealth countries, to respond to their questions, and listen to their views. On behalf of WADA’s Athlete Committee, I would like to thank those athletes and their support personnel who take the time to join us at our booth in the athlete village. Now more than ever, it is important to engage athletes in the area of anti-doping and make sure they know how to be involved in shaping the future of clean sport.”

Independent Observer Program

WADA will also be running an Independent Observer (IO) program during Birmingham 2022 – a program that 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 of Birmingham 2022 will be operated by the CGF with support from UKAD; and, WADA’s IO team will collaborate with them to help strengthen the program.

Providing daily feedback to the organizers, the IO team will observe all aspects of Birmingham 2022’s 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 (TUE) procedures; and
  • Results management.

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

The IO Team consists of:

  • Michal Rynkowski (Poland), Director, Polish Anti-Doping Agency (Chair);
  • Léa Réguer-Petit (France), Manager, Sport Movement Relations, WADA (Vice-Chair)
  • Chaya Ndiaye (Canada), Head of Product, IT, Data and Digital Development, WADA
  • Samuel Quinche (Switzerland), Deputy Director General and Director of Testing and Investigations, Swiss Sport Integrity Foundation; and
  • Aliann Pompey (Guyana), Chair of the Pan-American Athlete Committee and Olympic 400m runner.

Pre-Games Education Support

Well before this week’s signing of a formal MOU between WADA and the CGF, the two organizations joined forces to create and launch an interactive e-learning education course designed for athletes and coaches participating at Birmingham 2022. The course is hosted on WADA’s Anti-Doping Education and Learning platform, known as ADEL, and features modules explaining which substances and methods are prohibited, whereabouts information and requirements at the Games, how testing will be carried out, and what to do if an athlete needs to apply for a therapeutic use exemption. The course also outlines the important dates that athletes needed to be aware of and which organization has jurisdiction over them during the Games, as well as offering learning activities that allow participants to apply their knowledge.