City of Joburg, SRSA get ready to host anti-doping conference

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sandton - Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the City of Johannesburg have committed to delivering a successful 4th World Conference on Doping in Sport.

South Africa was named as host of the 2013 World Conference on Doping in Sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The City of Johannesburg will host the event at the Sandton Convention Centre in November next year.

On Thursday, SRSA and the City of Johannesburg signed a memorandum of agreement with regards to the hosting of the 2013 WADA conference.

The agreement, signed between the City Manager Trevor Fowler and SRSA Director-General Alec Moemi, is to ensure that the City and SRSA commit to clearly specified roles towards the success of the conference.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Sandton, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said WADA's decision to name South Africa as host was testimony to the country's ability and the world's recognition that South Africa was able to host successful major events.

"We are humbled by the confidence expressed by the WADA in South Africa's ability to host this prestigious event, which brings together leaders from various sectors of the society including the anti-doping sectors, government, world sports administrators, business leaders, academics, athletes and others," he said.

The decision for South Africa to bid for the conference was not based on the country's ability to host the event but was premised on its total commitment to drug-free sport and anti-doping initiatives, added Mbalula.

South Africa continued to lead the continent on anti-doping strategies and funded poorer countries on such initiatives, the minister noted.

Mbalula was optimistic that the conference would be a "defining moment" that would conclude with measures that would once and for all close the space for any drug cheats in sport.

The conference would also bring with it important reputational and economic opportunities for the country.

"We have complete confidence that together with the City, we'll leave a lasting impression on the 2 000 or more delegates at are expected to attend the conference," he added.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau said the city would support WADA and SRSA in delivering a conference that is unique and comprehensive by offering those involved world class, environmentally friendly facilities.

"We are now even better than before, committed to highlighting South Africa and in particular, the City's experience and potential as a host of world class international sporting events, while also encouraging a doping-free sporting environment," he said.

WADA's regional director Rodney Swigelaar said the conference would provide an opportunity to deliberate on how far the fight against doping in sport has come and to identify its next critical tasks.

One of the key outcomes of the Johannesburg conference would be the adoption of a stronger anti-doping code, he added.

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