At a press conference held at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Wildschönau, Austria, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stressed the importance of drug free sport.
Doping in sport continues to be a serious issue at all levels. However, it is possible for everyone to contribute to the mission of WADA "to promote and co-ordinate at an international level the fight against doping in sport in all forms"
. In March 2003, the IPC signed the World Anti-Doping Code. Thereafter, the IPC Anti-Doping Code was revised to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and WADA´s standards, and was officially launched today. This Code will apply at all IPC sanctioned competitions including the ATHENS 2004 Paralympics.
Said IPC President, Phil CRAVEN: "In preparation for the ATHENS 2004 Paralympics and to protect the athletes´ fundamental right to participate in doping free sport, the IPC has ruled that all National Paralympic Committees and sports wishing to take part in the Paralympics must declare their acceptance and recognition of the World Anti-Doping Code. Those that do not, will be deemed ineligible to participate. We believe that this is the strongest message we can send to our members. Supporting WADA in their work, the IPC will not tolerate doping in sport."
The WADA Athlete Outreach Program is present at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Champs and will be at the ATHENS 2004 Paralympics from 17 to 28 September. The program strives to build greater awareness about WADA and the anti-doping issue and to give athletes an opportunity to be involved, active and informed about anti-doping issues. The WADA Independent Observer team will also be present during the Paralympics to act as the "eyes and ears" of the outside world by observing and reporting on all aspects of the doping control operations of the competition in a neutral and unbiased manner. These are only a few of the initiatives that the IPC and WADA are working on together. On 26th January 2004 the IPC and WADA signed an amended version of the 2001 memorandum of understanding, agreeing to further joint actions and commitments.
"We are very pleased to have an awareness program at these championships,"
said Richard W. POUND, WADA president. "By inviting WADA to have such a presence and by implementing the Code, the IPC is once again demonstrating its strong commitment to ridding sports of doping."