WADA President meets with Austrian Vice-Chancellor, National Anti-Doping Organization and athletes in Vienna

austria witold

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka was in Vienna, Austria, to meet with senior representatives of the Austrian Government and National Anti-Doping Organization (NADA Austria), as well as athletes and other key anti-doping stakeholders.

Mr. Bańka met with Austria’s Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Sport, Werner Kogler, at Government offices, where they discussed a number of issues related to anti-doping in Austria and further afield.

WADA President, Witold Bańka, said: “Austria is fast becoming a regional leader in the protection of clean sport. It has been very encouraging to see the progress that has been made in recent years within the Government, the National Anti-Doping Organization and the sports federations here. I thank the Austrian Government and NADA Austria for their commitment to anti-doping and for their willingness to reach out beyond their own borders to collaborate with WADA and other organizations on several important projects.

“In particular, there have been a number of successful investigations involving Austrian authorities, including law enforcement, to which WADA has been delighted to contribute. We have also partnered with NADA Austria on a number of important collaborations. I am very grateful to Mr. Cepic and his team for their ongoing support and commitment. The seriousness with how Austria takes the issue of prohibited substances in sport is helping to protect athletes, not just here but all across Europe and beyond.”

Mr. Bańka, who was accompanied on the trip by WADA Director of the President’s Office, Rafal Piechota, took the opportunity to meet with the Chief Executive of NADA Austria and Chair of the Central European Anti-Doping Organization, Michael Cepic, who was recently elected to the position of Vice-Chair of WADA’s National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) Expert Advisory Group and NADO representative on WADA’s Foundation Board.

Mr. Bańka spoke with some athletes from Austria, including Nadja Heigl (cycling), Andreas Onea (para-swimming), Lara Tiefenthaler (rowing) and Andreas Vojta (athletics) to discuss any matters of interest to them or their fellow athletes.

The President also met with representatives of Austrian sport, including Michael Eschlböck, Vice-President of Sport Austria; Horst Nussbaumer, President of the Austrian Rowing Federation; Agnes Sirkka Prammer, Chair of the Sport Committee of Austria’s national parliament; and Sonja Spendelhofer, President of the Austrian Athletics Federation and Vice-Chair of NADA Austria’s Ethics Commission.

Mr. Cepic said: “We are grateful for the visit of President Bańka. He has always been supportive of our work here and, in particular, the activities of the Central European Anti-Doping Organization. It is great for us to have him here in Vienna to update him on our latest work and to discuss ways we can continue to collaborate with WADA to strengthen the anti-doping system, both in Austria and across the region.”

Some of the main topics discussed during the Austria trip included:

  • WADA’s priorities, latest activities and current areas of development and innovation, such as athlete engagement and scientific research;
  • The increasing role of values-based education in anti-doping;
  • The latest position regarding the Russian Anti-Doping Agency;
  • How WADA is ensuring the anti-doping system is harmonized and consistently applied for all athletes around the world; and
  • Further active cooperation between Governments and other stakeholders in Europe to ensure that the anti-doping community is collaborating effectively and working together towards the same goal.

Since the start of his presidency in 2020, Mr. Bańka has met with athletes, NADOs and the Sport Movement, as well as numerous sports ministers and other Government representatives responsible for anti-doping.