WADA honours IOC President Thomas Bach with Play True Award. 'X'@iocmedia

The President was among those honoured at the WADA 2024 Annual Symposium Gala, which celebrated its 25th anniversary. These awards are the first of their kind and recognise efforts and work in the global fight against doping.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been selected as one of the recipients of the inaugural 2024 Play True Awards, which recognise individuals, groups and organisations that have contributed to the fight against doping. 

Bach received the award on behalf of the sports movement at the 2024 Annual Symposium Gala, hosted by WADA to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The 2024 Annual Symposium, themed "One Mission - One Team", brought together 1,100 delegates from the global anti-doping community in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

WADA President Witold Bańka and Director General Olivier Niggli set the tone with their opening speeches. President Witold Bańka thanked all those who have been part of the global anti-doping movement over the past 25 years. 

Thomas Bach emphasized the importance of
Thomas Bach emphasized the importance of "clean athletes." 'X'@iocmedia

He highlighted all those present and their predecessors; the volunteers who have served on WADA's governing bodies - the Foundation Board, Executive Committee and other WADA committees, panels, expert groups, advisory groups and working groups; and the WADA staff, both today and since the Agency's inception, who have worked to fulfil WADA's ever-expanding mission."

Bańka continued: "Today we want to celebrate the collective. We are proud of how many people have recognised the importance of our global collaborative movement for doping-free sport and have joined us. We know that the roles and responsibilities of our various stakeholders are complementary to the goal of protecting clean sport, and that we are stronger as a team."

Bańka highlighted those stakeholders and individuals that the Agency wished to recognise with the inaugural "Play True Awards" who have been particularly instrumental in the creation, development and strengthening of WADA and clean sport.

The 2024 Play True Awards were presented to:

-Ben Sandford, former Chairman of the WADA's Athletes' Committee, on behalf of the world's athletes.

-Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, on behalf of the sports movement.

-Dr Rahul Gupta, Director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House and Chairman of One Voice, on behalf of public authorities.

-Richard Pound, founding President of WADA from 1999-2007.

-The late Honourable John Fahey, WADA President 2008-2013.

-Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President 2014-2019.

IOC President Thomas Bach and scientific presentations by Dr Matt Fedoruk, Dr Tiia Kuuranne and Dr Reid Aikin were among the speakers at the two-day symposium. 

Speaking at the event, Thomas Bach said: "Protecting clean athletes is the ultimate goal. Tough sanctions and strong deterrence are extremely important, but they are not the goal. They are essential to protect clean athletes. That's what it's all about: Clean athletes," he said in the IOC's 'X' account. 

In this first year of the WADA Play True Awards, WADA honoured a number of outstanding individuals. In the coming years, the Agency will establish a Play True Award programme. The global anti-doping community will be encouraged to submit nominations. 

Requirements will be defined and communicated in the coming months. A special session at future WADA Symposia will publicly recognise and honour those selected by a jury as Play True Award winners.