Meaningful athlete-NSO collaboration in the fight against doping

11 Jul 2022

Meaningful athlete-NSO collaboration

With 5 wins under her belt already in 2022 and the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, elite hurdler Portia Bing could be forgiven for taking it easy in her off-time. Instead, she flew to Switzerland to represent the DFSNZ Athlete Commission at the 2022 WADA Symposium, and present on the symposium theme, 'Inclusion of the athlete voice'. Her message? The foundational nature of meaningful NSO-athlete collaboration in the fight against doping.

Portia's story

WADA Athlete Committee athlete session Portia

Located in the city of Lausanne, placed on the shores of Lake Geneva, the annual World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Symposium was an experience of many ‘firsts’ for me. It was the first time I’ve been to Lausanne, the first time I’ve been to a conference of this calibre, and the first time I’ve experienced the colourful world of international governance.

The theme of the Symposium was ‘Raising the game: Inclusion of the athlete voice’. The opportunity for me to attend and present at the Symposium came from my experiences as an active athlete and as a founding member of the DFSNZ Athlete Commission. However, it was my interest in the complexities of anti-doping governance that provided a foundation from which to build my presentation.

The key message I delivered was that any fight against doping requires a collaborative approach between NADOs and athletes. There are many models for how to include the athlete voice, but, whatever format NADOs decide to use, the point is that they need to be genuine in their interactions. Not only is being genuine an important part of successful collaboration, it’s also an important part of restoring and maintaining the perceived legitimacy of anti-doping organisations.

It was a privilege to represent the DFSNZ Athlete Commission on the international stage.
The Symposium – a hub for leaders of progressive change and inclusion – was the perfect opportunity to showcase the work the DFSNZ Athlete Commission does with DFSNZ to improve anti-doping processes. The experience helped me to see further into the complex sphere of anti-doping: the grapple with power imbalances, rights infringements, and the need to protect individuals. But in the centre of these complex differences, everyone has the same common goal: protecting clean sport.

I’m proud to have played my part in ensuring that we continue to protect clean sport and of being a part of the future of anti-doping.

Learn more about Portia at World Athletics.

Image credit: World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)