Marcos Diaz has officially launched his campaign to become WADA President ©Marcos Diaz

Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic has officially launched his campaign to become the next President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after he was given the backing of the American Council of Sports (CADE) during a meeting in Uruguay.

Members of the CADE endorsed Diaz's candidacy at the assembly in Punta del Este, attended by Government representatives from across the Americas region and WADA director general Olivier Niggli.

Uruguayan Sports Minister Fernando Cáceres presented Diaz's bid for the top job at the global anti-doping watchdog before attendees unanimously elected him as the candidate for the region.

insidethegames had exclusively revealed in November that the 44-year-old former marathon swimmer would stand to replace Sir Craig Reedie as President of WADA.

Today's announcement formally puts forward Diaz as the contender from the Americas region.

"Marcos has shown a strong leadership in WADA as reference for consensus and for building bridges to solve conflicts," said Cáceres.

"The Americas have a unique candidate here, the best, in the person of Marcos Díaz."

Diaz, a member of the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board, vowed to work hard on getting the support of the rest of Governments across the world in his campaign for the Presidency.

"We will work hard to guarantee the meaning of the W [world] of WADA is recognised in every action and decision taken by the organisation," the former athlete said.

Diaz is one of four candidates currently in the running to succeed Sir Craig.

WADA vice-president Linda Helleland, Polish Sports Minister Witold Bańka and Flemish Sports Minister Philippe Muyters are also standing.

Bańka emerged as the European front-runner last month after after the Ad-Hoc European Committee for WADA recommended putting him forward as the continent's candidate.

A final decision on which of the three should represent Europe is due to be made at a meeting next Wednesday (February 27) and it is possible those not chosen could withdraw from the race.

The public authorities group within WADA will essentially choose the next President when it holds a meeting in Montreal on May 14, prior to WADA's bi-annual gathering of the 38-member Foundation Board.

The group has asked all continents to nominate a single candidate, with the hope that a consensus on who they think should take over from Sir Craig when he steps down in November is reached at the meeting.

If this does not prove possible, a secret ballot, where each region will have one vote, will be held.

The contenders who fail to secure the nomination from the public authorities have been urged to cease campaigning.

The public authorities claim their chosen candidate should then shadow the current administration prior to their appointment at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice in Poland, scheduled to take place between November 5 and 7, where there is not likely to be an election.