Fri, 19 Jul 2019

Poland's sports and tourism minister is in line to become the next World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president after a vote left him the only candidate remaining on the ballot.

On May 14, 34-year-old Witold Banka, a former elite athlete, beat out the Dominican Republics vice minister of sport and tourism, Marcos Diaz, in a vote to succeed 78-year-old Craig Reedie.

The vote in Montreal was taken by the representatives of the 21 government members on the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation board, the so- called Public Authorities.

Banka was on the ballot as the European candidate after he gained more votes than reform candidate Linda Helleland, a WADA vice president from Norway.

Banka is expected to be approved at WADA's meetings in Katowice, Poland, in November and will take over in 2020.

Banka has largely avoided discussion of the Russian doping scandal that has consumed WADA over the past four years. He has instead called for more funding for anti-doping labs around the world to put countries on equal footing.

A WADA-commissioned report that outlined evidence of systematic, state-backed doping in Russian athletics led to the suspension of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA in 2015.

Another report a year later documented more than 1,000 doping cases across dozens of sports, most notably at the Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi in 2014.

To be reinstated, the IAAF has said Russia also must acknowledge the findings of that report -- including an admission that doping in Russia was state-sponsored.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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