11 April 2018

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) celebrated yesterday ‘Play True Day’ along with athletes, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs and RADOs), sporting federations and others around the world. This year, it coincides with day one of the fifth biannual RADO Conference in Bangkok (Thailand), giving those in attendance the opportunity to show unity and solidarity with the ‘Play True Day’ cause.

‘Play True Day’ is dedicated to clean sport and aims at raising awareness among athletes, the sporting public and others about the global fight against doping. Several athletes and people from the sport and Olympic world posted pictures and video with the hashtag #PlayTrue.

Europe, once again, has made hear its voice loud and clear. Anti-doping organizations, national and international sport federations, and educational institutions all across the continent are running events dedicated to clean sport and/or including relevant content in their existing events before, during and after ‘Play True Day’.

Among them, Azerbaijan organised a charity event with the participation of government officials, Olympic medallists and media representatives, as well as an essay contest for journalists and an illustration contest with Play True theme, and an education seminar at the sport school in Baku; Belgium and Croatia are promoting many sport events all over the countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina with the organisation of an anti-doping seminar for students and professors at Pedagogical Faculty, University of Džemal Bijedić in Mostar; Estonia with the organisation of an Anti-Doping Roundtable for the sports experts and public authorities and an educational campaign amongst fitness centres (focusing on the risks of nutritional supplements).

Oher interesting initiatives were organised in Italy, which put forward a series of prevention activities and promotion, especially at Cadet and Junior World Fencing Championships in Verona; in Bulgaria, where an outreach program including face-to-face communication with participants from a variety of different sports was set up; in Slovenia where an Anti-Doping seminar was organised for coaches and recreational athletes; in Malta where athletes signed a Play True pledge; in Poland the promotion of clean sport was taken to the sport schools in Cracow and in Russia as well school open classes where children made drawings based on the theme “Clean sport” and the Fairy tale “The dream to win” book presentation was held.

Many other European countries have shown their commitment in the fight against doping by implementing social media campaign, especially on Instagram.

The inspiration for this initiative stems from a WADA-hosted education conference in 2013, which was attended by 17 South American countries that were the driving force behind 10 April being declared ‘Play True Day’. While it started as a South American initiative, over the years, this grassroots movement has gained momentum with numerous European countries celebrating in 2016 and more joining the campaign from around the globe the following year.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “This is an example of what a grassroots movement can achieve. The organisers saw an opportunity to educate, to promote clean sport and to celebrate the many reasons to play true – and they seized it. Together, we can leverage this momentum to create a world where the clean athlete prevails, a world where athletes choose to stay clean out of self-respect, fairness to their fellow competitors, and for the pure joy that sport brings.”