Sandford new chair of WADA athlete committee

Ben Sandford.

 

Rotorua’s Ben Sandford is set to replace Canada’s Beckie Scott as chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Committee after beating his only rival, Belgium's Yuhan Tan, in a vote at Katowice, Poland.

The skeleton racer polled 10 votes to the six collected by the badminton player, widely seen as the preferred candidate of the International Olympic Committee.

Sandford’s appointment must now be formally endorsed by the WADA Executive Committee at its meeting in Lausanne on January 23, 2020, according to reporter Duncan Mackay.

Sandford, 40, competed in three Winter Olympic Games, with a best position of 10th at Turin 2006.

His best finish at the World Championships was third at Lake Placid in 2012.

He is currently a member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission.

Britain's Adam Pengilly, another skeleton racer touted as a potential candidate, withdrew before the election.

Another withdrawal was Dutch decathlete Chiel Warners.

Scott had been appointed as chair of the WADA Athlete Committee in 2014 to replace Russian ice hockey player Viacheslav Fetisov.

Her reign has ended in controversy, however, after she officially complained about how she was treated at a September 2018 Board meeting in which WADA reinstated the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

Scott had been a fierce opponent to Russia being reinstated until they had met all the criteria originally laid out by WADA.

Scott named two representatives of the Olympic Movement - the late Patrick Baumann from Switzerland and Italy's Francesco Ricci Bitti – as being behind the bullying.

WADA released a 58-page report into the incident in May that concluded Scott was not bullied.

Sandford has entered the Rotorua political arena – in 2017 he contested the Rotorua seat for Labour against National’s Todd McClay and lately became a member of a pop-up group, Evolve Rotorua.

 


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