Sports

Fiji nearly banned from international sports by WADA

June 18, 2024 6:56 am

Fiji is lucky not to have been banned from participating and hosting international sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency for non-compliance.

The success we had at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and Tokyo 2020 took Fiji to a new level as far as WADA is concerned.

That new level meant Fiji had to comply with WADA requirements and have its own anti-doping organization, and the ground work started in 2017.

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However, Fiji Sports Commission chief executive Peter Mazey says when the Fiji 7s side and Fijiana won gold and bronze medals at the Tokyo Games in 2021, there was still no anti-doping policy which would establish a national organization, and this got WADA upset.

“You can’t attend international events or host international events we were at a risk of losing the ability to host and remember this includes Drua games that’s an international event that we’re passionate about so yeah that the big issue.”

There were too many delays but Mazey is thankful when the new government came in, the Minister for Sports Jese Saukuru took everything on board following some strong warnings from WADA who also gave a timeline that Fiji had to work with.

The National Anti-Doping Policy will now be finalized for tabling in Parliament after Cabinet endorsed the draft Bill last month.

During the National Sports Conference last week, the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights received some feedbacks from individuals during the consultation.

The Committee which comprises of Sashi Kiran, Moses Bulitavu, Chair Rakuita Vakalalabure, and Faiyaz Koya listened to views, suggestions and opinions of sports administrators and coaches like Albert Miller, Cathy Wong, Henry Elder, Vivian Koster, Makarita Lenoa, Vanessa Kilner and others.

The National Anti-Doping Policy which was approved by Cabinet in 2023 highlighted the need for establishing a National Anti-Doping Organisation with primary functions and responsibilities to promote clean sport, prevent doping, and ensuring compliance with international anti-doping standards.

The Bill is expected to be passed in Parliament next month.