Yang Yang is the new WADA vice president. © Xinhua NewsCouncil News
Date : 07 Nov 2019
Katowice, Poland, November 7, 2019: Former Winter Olympic champion Yang Yang became the first Chinese to be elected as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) vice president here on Thursday, reports Xinhua News.
The election, which took place on the last day of the three-day Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, also saw Poland's sprinter-turned Minister of Sport and Tourism Witold Banka elected as president to succeed Scotsman Craig Reedie.
Yang, the first Chinese to take a leadership role in WADA's 20-year history, said she looked forward to working with Banka, a young politician at 35, in the next three years.
"He is very young but he was an athlete before and also has so much experience in politics. I believe if we can work closely together we can do a good job," she said.
Yang, 43, will start her term at the beginning of next year, succeeding Norwegian politician Linda Helleland, who will step down at the end of 2019.
Yang became China's first Winter Olympic champion at Salt Lake City in 2002 when she took two gold medals and a silver medal in short track speed skating. She was an IOC member from 2010 until 2018, when she was appointed IOC Marketing Commission member.
She was nominated in May by the IOC Executive Board as the representative of the Olympic Movement for the vice presidency of WADA.
“Frankly speaking I was surprised by the nomination, although I did once work in the athletes’ commission of WADA," Yang, one of the most decorated skaters in history, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview here.
Surprised as she was, Yang took pride in what the nomination and successful election stand for.
"I feel very proud not just for myself, but also for China," Yang said. "I am entrusted with this new responsibility thanks to the IOC and WADA's confidence in my experience and ability. At the same time, I think it also shows the international society's recognition in China's efforts against doping.
"WADA is a more comprehensive organisation than the IOC as it has been formed by parties from sport and governments. It is like a whole new world to me. I was an athlete and my passion is to work for the interest of athletes," Yang said.
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