Witold Banka rubber-stamped as new WADA chief


Katowice (Poland) (AFP)

Witold Banka was officially named the new president of the World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday, with Poland's current sports minister succeeding incumbent Craig Reedie when he departs the post at the end of the year.

Banka, 35, was rubber-stamped as new WADA chief during the body's conference in Katowice after having already received the endorsement of its executive committee and foundation board.

The 78-year-old Reedie will step down after two terms at the head of sport's global anti-doping watchdog.

Former track and field athlete Banka said he would aim to increase the agency's budget of less than 40 million dollars having on Tuesday labelled the sum as "ridiculous".

Banka intends to establish a solidarity fund for National Anti-Doping Organisations, in particular for countries where there is no such body.

"I will work hard to keep the number of countries or sports where anti-doping programmes are small or non-existent as low as possible," he said at the conclusion of the conference on Thursday.

His appointment will be the last to work on the principle of rotation between representatives of sports bodies and governments, with an independent president coming in from the start of the next mandate in 2022.

China's Yang Yang, a two-time gold medallist in speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics, will be Banka's vice-president.

WADA's foundation board will also approve on Thursday a new version of its World Anti-Doping Code which will harmonise sanctions for doping violations across sports and member nations.