Yesterday, as part of its 2024 Annual Symposium, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) celebrated its 25th anniversary during a Gala held in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

The 25th Anniversary Gala gathered 1,100+ Symposium attendees and other invited guests to celebrate WADA’s first quarter century, the accomplishments of the global anti-doping community and some of its key contributors.  

The Gala was emceed by WADA Education Committee Chair, Kady Kanouté Tounkara, OLY, who opened by sharing a 25th anniversary video; and, by saying: 

“Since its establishment in 1999, WADA has been unwavering in its mission to protect athletes’ fundamental right to participate in doping-free sport. Paramount to the organization’s success has been its relationship and collaboration with stakeholders around the world, which includes athletes, the Sport Movement, Governments, Anti-Doping Organizations and others that make up the anti-doping community. It has been a true team effort.” 

WADA Education Committee Chair, Kady Kanouté Tounkara

WADA President Witold Bańka followed Ms. Kanouté Tounkara by thanking everyone that has contributed to the work of the global anti-doping movement over the past 25 years. He thanked everyone in attendance and their predecessors; the countless number of volunteers that have served within WADA’s governing bodies – on the Foundation Board, Executive Committee and other Committees, Panels and Expert, Advisory and Working Groups — and WADA’s diverse and talented staff of today, and since the Agency’s beginnings, that have worked tirelessly to deliver on WADA’s ever-expanding mission. 

“Today, we want to celebrate the collective, because we are proud of how many people have recognized the importance of, and have joined, our global collaborative movement for doping-free sport. We know that the roles and responsibilities of our various stakeholder groups are complementary to the goal of protecting clean sport; and that, as ONE TEAM, we are stronger.” 

WADA President Witold Bańka

Mr. Bańka then highlighted how certain stakeholder groups and individuals had been particularly instrumental to the creation, evolution and strengthening of WADA and Clean Sport, which the Agency wanted to acknowledge with inaugural “Play True Awards,” to recognize long-lasting and significant contributions to the anti-doping movement. 

The 2024 Play True Awards were presented to: 

  • Ben Sandford, former Chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee, on behalf of Athletes of the World; 
  • Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, on behalf of the Sport Movement; 
  • Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House National Drug Control Policy and Chair of One Voice, on behalf of the Public Authorities; 
  • Richard Pound, WADA Founding President 1999-2007; 
  • The late Honorable John Fahey, WADA President 2008-2013; and 
  • Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President 2014-2019 

About the Play True Awards 

For this first year of WADA’s Play True Awards, WADA identified a short-list of important contributors over the past 25 years.  Going forward, the Agency will launch a Play True Award program that will encourage the global anti-doping community to submit nominations for individuals or teams, based on certain categories and criteria that will be established and communicated over the coming months. Those that would then be selected by a jury as Play True Award winners will be publicly recognized and awarded during a dedicated session of WADA’s future Symposiums.  

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