Montreal – Polish sports minister Witold Banka, a 34-year-old former athlete, was chosen Tuesday in Montreal by state representatives at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to become the next president of the body, have announced the states in a statement.
This choice will be ratified by a WADA Foundation Board on 7 November in Katowice. From the conservative Polish government, Witold Banka will succeed Britain's Craig Reedie, elected in 2014 from the ranks of the Olympic Movement, the other pillar of WADA.
Since its birth in 1999, WADA is subject to a rotation principle of its presidency between the Olympic movement (IOC and international federations) and governments.
"As the rules", the designation of Witold Banka"will be formally submitted to WADA by May 31, 2019 for the November Katowice Foundation Board election", states the statement.
Representing the European continent, Witold Banka competed with Dominican Marcos Diaz, a former 44-year-old open water swimmer, vice-minister of sports in his country, and a candidate for the American continent. Banka was nominated by a Council of Europe state vote to represent its continent in January, with 28 votes against 16 for former Norwegian minister Linda Helleland.
WADA, which has been responsible for regulating and enforcing anti-doping throughout the world, has been severely shaken by the institutional doping scandal in Russia since the end of 2014, which highlighted the flaws in its surveillance. Since then, the agency has reformed, strengthening its investigation service and adopting an arsenal of sanctions that will allow it, in the future, to block the road of the Olympics to a cheating country, which it could not do against Russia at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
Last September, WADA's decision to reinstate Russia as a country in line with the World Anti-Doping Code was also hotly contested, with several players seeing it as a weakness to Moscow and the International Olympic Committee ( IOC).