World anti-doping body proposes next president sidelining outspoken candidate

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) came forward on Tuesday it would put forward Poland’s sports minister Witold Banka who is a Polish former 400 metres sprinter turned politician  as its candidate to be the body’s next president.

The decision to choose the 34-year-old former sprinter was made by Wada’s Public Authorities in a special meeting in Montreal.

The current head of WADA is the 78-year-old Craig Reedie who has served two terms in office and who is due to step down in December.

WADA rotates its presidency between representatives from the international sports bodies (the International Olympic Committee and federations) and governments.

As required by the rules Banka’s nomination will now be submitted to WADA by the end of May for the elections which will take place at the meeting of the WADA Foundation Board in Katowice, Poland in November 2019.

Polish Minister of Sports and Tourism Witold Banka speaks to the press in Montreal on May 14, 2019, during a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA specieal meeting

Banka was first chosen as Europe’s candidate in January, comfortably beating the 41-year-old current WADA vice-president Linda Helleland.

Norwegian Helleland was the pick of the western nations, chiefly the United States, as a strong critic of what she sees as WADA’s weaknesses towards Moscow and its lack of independence from the IOC.

Now Banka appears to have been given the nod ahead of the Domenican Marcos Diaz, a WADA executive committee member.

Diaz wanted to increase the number of representatives from countries he feels have less of a say in decisions than they should.

Meanwhile Banka would like to establish a solidarity fund for the National Anti-Doping Organisations, in particular for countries where there is no such body.

This is the last time the WADA head will be appointed on the principle of rotation between representatives of sports bodies and governments, with an independent president coming in from the start of the next mandate, in 2022.

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