Indicated by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), Professor Leonardo Mataruna dos Santos was selected last Thursday, the 12th, by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, in English) to join the Education Committee of the main institution that combats doping in sport in the world.
Over the next three years, he will have the function of recommending and guiding the management of WADA regarding short and long-term education strategies and activities; suggesting effective educational materials in anti-doping messages for global education; seeking efficient partnerships with stakeholders to avoid the use of illegal substances; and giving advice on materials created for worldwide campaigns.
"To compose the WADA Education Committee is to have a duty to help institutions around the world to develop programs, initiate research and move forward with effective mechanisms in the fight against doping," said Leonardo Mataruna, who is a doctoral professor at the Canadian University of Dubai and associated professor at UFRJ.
After the indication of representation of the country by COB, Mataruna went through a global selection process that took into account the professional curriculum, the teaching and research experience, the experience in the practical field of sport, the contributions to the anti-doping fight, the production knowledge in scientific publications and knowledge about the cultural and social diversity of sport in different countries. At the end of the process, he was assessed by a committee composed of WADA's President Witold Banka, WADA's Director General, Olivier Niggli, and the Director of the WADA Education and Research Committee, Kadidiatou Tounkara.
"The position on WADA's Education Committee is voluntary and unpaid, but it requires a very high degree of commitment and dedication as a global anti-doping ambassador in all countries with physical and digital actions," said Leonardo.
In favor of his candidacy, there are points such as his experience as a consultant for UNESCO and as the coordinator of educational sessions of the International Olympic Academy and the fact of being a Member of the Olympic Academies of Brazil, Mexico and Portugal, in addition to his participation in Olympic and Paralympic sports delegations since 2000.
“Brazil, without a doubt, is a country that strongly fights doping. COB, the Brazilian Doping Control Authority, the Military Sports Commission of Brazil, and other institutions, are already using educational approaches to combat the problem. However, there is still much to be done since the first experience of an athlete towards anti-doping should be through education, instead of the doping control itself”, analyzed Mataruna, who has already explained some of the actions that will taken during his tenure. “It is important to be with athletes in competitions and training in order to value fair play. Being able to share anti-doping education guidance proposals with federations, confederations, clubs and schools in Brazil and worldwide are part of the agenda,” he added.