The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to select – for all intents and purposes – a new president this week.
The official vote will come in early November, but according to a Reuters report, “21 government representatives who sit on the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation board” are gathering to pick their preferred candidate this week.
The finalists to replace outgoing president Craig Reedie are Poland’s Witold Banka, a former middle-distance runner who is currently the minister for sport and tourism in Poland, and the Dominican Republic’s Marcos Diaz, a Hall of Fame marathon swimmer from the Dominican Republic who currently serves on WADA‘s Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
The 21 officials are meeting in Montreal this week ahead of WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation board meetings Wednesday and Thursday. Five continental regions could have nominated a candidate for the presidency, but only two entered the race with Europe nominating Banka and the Americas Diaz, according to Reuters.
Before Banka and Diaz emerged as the frontrunners to head the turmoil-stricken organization, current WADA vice-president Linda Helleland was viewed as a leading contender. Helleland was vocally against the organization’s decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency this year.
Her chances of securing the presidency are not completely dead yet, however. Helleland could make a run at the job if she can secure the backing of a least one Foundation board member and submit her candidacy to WADA before May 31.
Whether it is Banka, 34, Helleland, 41, or Diaz, 44, selected, it will signal a youthful turn for the organization, whose previous three presidents were all in their 60s when elected. Helleland would be WADA‘s first female president.