'Establishing a stronger presence in Latin America is a significant step in the global fight against doping in sport,' said David HOWMAN, WADA director general. 'It's an important region that is willing to do even more to rid sport of doping. We will now be able to work more closely with our government and sport stakeholders there to develop and disseminate effective education about the dangers and consequences of doping in sport, and to facilitate implementation and compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the document that harmonizes anti-doping rules in all sports and all countries.'
The official launch is being celebrated during the meeting of ministers of the MERCOSUR (Mercado Comun del Sur), involving the participation of ten South American countries.
'This is a perfect opportunity to officially launch WADA's presence in Latin America,' continued HOWMAN. 'It reflects the commitment of both WADA and the region to work together to stem the scourge of doping in sport, address concerns of athlete health, and level the playing field for athletes worldwide.'
Among several cities that bid for the opportunity to host the office, Montevideo was selected by the WADA Executive Committee in May 2005. 'We are grateful to the Uruguayan government and sport authorities for their support of the WADA Latin American Regional Office, and we look forward to our work together, as with all stakeholders throughout the region.'
The Latin American office, to be housed in the World Trade Center in Montevideo, will physically open in early 2006 and will be managed by Diego Torres Villegas, Director. It is WADA's fourth regional office, joining those serving Europe (Lausanne, Switzerland), Asia/Oceania (Tokyo, Japan), and Africa (Cape Town, South Africa). Regional offices are a key element to WADA's fight against doping in sport, increasing understanding and facilitating implementation of the Code worldwide.