Poland’s Bańka elected to head WADA

By David Owen

November 8 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) formally elected the Pole, Witold Bańka, as its next president. He will succeed Scotland’s Sir Craig Reedie at the start of next year.

Though only 35, Bańka, who was born in Tychy in Silesia, has been his country’s sport and tourism minister for the past four years.

Bańka pledged to “work hard” to ensure WADA continues to “lead a global anti-doping programme that holds up the values of clean sport at all times”. He promised to put athletes’ interests first “so they can have confidence that WADA will always support them to compete clean”. While difficult decisions would sometimes be necessary, he said he was “convinced we will be able to make them”.

The new vice-president will be China’s Yang Yang, a former short-track speed skater who won two gold medals at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. Yang, 43, said she believed in the fight against doping and was “very confident that we can make a real difference”.

Meeting in Katowice, where the fifth world conference on doping in sport took place this week, WADA also approved a budget for 2020 of $37.4 million. This constitutes a year-on-year increase of 8%.

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