One World — One Ball

Agata Plechan: My experience of WADA´s 1st Global Athlete Forum

I had the pleasure to meet very experienced athletes from all over the world. Many of them didn‘t know floorball at all, but I am sure that they will remember it now. Large part of participants came from disciplines were doping is visible a lot, like swimming or cross-country skiing. In the case of floorball, we spoke about education and how important it is that the players, coaches and clubs are aware about anti-doping issue. Floorball is not there yet, but it might be very soon that the players will have to report their whereabouts in ADAMS system and the tests will be done more often than during the big tournaments. Education is the way to make it easier for everyone in the future to face anti-doping rules. Basically, each member association should have on their website information about anti-doping policy.

WADA‘s Athletes Commission was happy to hear that IFF‘s Athletes Commission is active, has its representatives on various IFF‘s committees and that our chair is on the IFF‘s Central Board. This is the way to go, they said.

The topic that was discussed actively in my working group is that each athletes commission should have one member educated by WADA on the topic of anti-doping. This person would be the one that the athletes can contact and talk about the issue of anti-doping. It might be easier for the athletes to talk with another athlete who will understand the importance of the issue.

Interesting part of the Forum was discussion about the Speak Up! program. Mr. Gunter Younger, Director Intelligence and Investigations, explained how important it is to speak up. Every time someone steps forward with information on doping, we move closer to a clean and fair playing field for all. Everything that is being reported to WADA is strictly confidential and anyone can report violations. It can be done easily via WADA Speak Up website. Skype conference call with Yulia and Vitaly Stepanov who had to leave Russia to protect themselves after revealing dirty secrets of doping in Russian athletics, was touching moment of the Forum. Unfortunately due to technical issues, we could not ask them many questions.

Members of the WADA‘s Athletes Commission were there all the time available to talk, as well as the President of WADA Sir Craig Reedie and the Director General Olivier Niggli. All of them were happy to hear about the anti-doping situations in different disciplines and countries.

For me, personally, it was fantastic experience to be part of this group of athletes who came together to discuss key anti-doping developments and issues. Two days of discussions brought a lot of new knowledge and contacts. I hope that WADA‘s Athletes Commission will keep up the good work they are doing and as it is planned, the next WADA‘s Athletes Forum is going to be held in 2019.

Example of typical conversation starter that I had over there:
A: Hello, so where are you from?
B: I‘m from Portugal.
A: Nice, which sport you are involved in?
B: Swimming, I went to Beijing, London and Rio Olympics, how about you?
A: I play floorball, we do not go to the Olympics…yet.
B:………(confused face)
A: It is ok not to know what floorball is 
B: Ohh, good, so tell me what is floorball?

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