WADA plays important role in Japan Anti-Doping Agency’s International Anti-Doping Seminar for Asia-Oceania

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was pleased to play an important role during the 2022 edition of the annual International Anti-Doping Seminar for Asia and Oceania from 18-19 January 2022, carried out virtually by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) in partnership with WADA. 

Commissioned and supported by the Japan Sports Agency (JSA) and the Government of Japan, the event is a fixture in the clean sport calendar within the Asia/Oceania region. This year’s event attracted more than 300 participants, from the Asia/Oceania region and beyond, and focused on how anti-doping legacies from major events – including the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games – can pave the way for clean sport.

The event opened with participants being welcomed by Ikeda Yoshitaka, Japan’s State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (and WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board member from Asia), followed by an address from Prof. Suzuki Hidenori, Chair of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, and then a keynote speech by WADA’s President, Witold Bańka.

In his speech, Mr. Bańka reflected on 2021, paying tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the organizers and volunteers who helped stage the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan, in such difficult circumstances. He said the Games had been a great opportunity for the anti-doping community to come together and work hard to protect the athletes and promote fair competition. In particular, Mr. Bańka highlighted the JADA legacy initiative, entitled ‘Play True 2020 – Sport for Tomorrow’. The program, which included values projects and educational resources for athletes and others, represented the first time that Olympic and Paralympic Games had prioritized anti-doping as a core legacy pillar.

Mr. Bańka told the meeting: “Because of this innovative program, clean sport – particularly in the area of education – will continue to benefit from the successful staging of the Games in Tokyo. This legacy will be felt for many Games to come. Thank you to the Japanese Government and to JADA for that – it is priceless to us.”

WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, delivered a detailed presentation on WADA’s ongoing work overseeing the global anti-doping program. Mr. Niggli explained how WADA was leading the global community response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, how the Agency had helped to implement the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and eight related International Standards around the world, and how it was carefully monitoring Signatories’ compliance with those revised rules. He also highlighted the work that WADA was doing in a number of other key areas, including intelligence and investigations, legal affairs, education and training, scientific research and governance reform, as well as continuing to make WADA a more athlete-centered organization, in keeping with the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.

Mr. Niggli said: “The anti-doping landscape has changed significantly in recent years and WADA has evolved as a consequence. We are now much better equipped to deal with the challenges we face and we will continue to adapt in line with international best practice. While we constantly strive for excellence, there are still gaps to be filled and we are confident that with the support and collaboration of all our partners, we will succeed.”

In addition to the involvement of Mr. Bańka and Mr. Niggli, Chair of WADA’s Education Committee Kadidiatou Tounkara and Koji Murofushi, Commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency (and former WADA Athlete Committee member and Olympic gold medalist) participated in a panel focused on athlete engagement.

A number of other WADA staff contributed to the seminar, including: Director of the Asia/Oceania Office, Kazuhiro Hayashi; Director of National and Regional Anti-Doping Organization Relations, Tom May; Associate Director of Compliance, Rules and Standards, Kevin Haynes; Senior Manager of Testing, George Tsamis; and Manager of the Asia/Oceania Office, Kenny Lee. There was also involvement from Dr. Francesca Rossi, Director of Testing at the National Anti-Doping Agency of France and Chair of WADA’s Independent Observer Team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.