Polish Sports Minister in bid for Wada presidency

Witold Bańka, Poland’s Sports Minister, has put his name forward to succeed Craig Reedie as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) towards the end of 2019.

Bańka, a 33-year-old former sprinter, confirmed his plans to the AFP news agency. “I want to build bridges and look for compromises,” he said. “You need respect and cooperation to strengthen the system.”

Linda Helleland, the Norwegian vice-president of Wada who has been a critic of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) approach to the Russian doping scandal, has already thrown her name into the hat, but there is still time for other candidates to come forward.

“We need a long-term solution for Russia as it seems that we have already reached a dead end,” Bańka said. “I don’t believe that meeting by Russia both remaining conditions from the roadmap is realistic.

“On the other hand, we have to be 100 per cent convinced that Russia’s anti-doping system is reliable again before we even think about reinstating Rusada (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency)… Therefore, I think we need to agree on a new set of conditions for reinstatement of Rusada, more operational, measurable and objective.”

It remains to be seen whether Bańka receives the backing of the sporting movement, with Helleland representing the political sphere. Reedie was selected as a representative of the sporting movement.

The election to replace Reedie will take place at the World Conference on Doping in Sport from November 5-7 next year in Katowice, Poland.