Long jump action from the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Zurich, Switzerland

Weltklasse Zurich to launch fair play programme

The Weltklasse Zurich meeting is launching a new fair play programme in association with Swiss Athletics and the Antidoping Schweiz foundation.

“The events of recent months have shown that the core values of sport suffer if there is a lack of fair play or moral courage,” said Christoph Joho, Weltklasse Zurich co-meeting director. “Therefore, we have reflected on what we can do as organisers of a leading athletics meeting to contribute to and to promote fairness.”

‘Fair Play and Human Touch’ has been one of four main pillars of the Weltklasse Zurich strategy for many years. And with its policy of not inviting athletes with suspensions of two years or longer, the IAAF Diamond League meeting has also already taken a stand for fair and clean sport.

Now, the promoters intend to go one step further: in association with Swiss Athletics and the Antidoping Schweiz foundation, they will initiate a new fair play programme with various events on the topic during the week leading up to the 2016 meeting on 1 September 2016.

Yulia Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov named Fair Play Ambassadors

Russian 800m runner Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly Stepanov will be part of the new programme. Following their disclosures, which were first made public in an ARD documentary one year ago, systematic corruption and violations against anti-doping rules were detected in Russia.

“Yulia and Vitaly have taken huge personal risks to help disclose violations against our sport’s values,” said Weltklasse Zurich co-meeting director Andreas Hedinger. “As Weltklasse Zurich Fair Play Ambassadors, they will champion fairness and moral courage and will help promote a cause that is essential for both us as a meeting and for sports as such. By appointing them as Fair Play Ambassadors, we also acknowledge their courage and commitment.”

“Becoming Weltklasse Zurich Fair Play Ambassadors is both a great honour and a recognition of our efforts so far,” said Stepanova. “And we hope that this new role will help us continue our fight for fair and clean sport,” added Stepanov.

A joint effort by Weltklasse Zurich, Swiss Athletics, and Antidoping Schweiz

During the coming weeks, a comprehensive fair play programme will be drawn up in cooperation with the two new Fair Play Ambassadors, and with representatives of Swiss Athletics and Antidoping Schweiz. The programme will include events aimed at various target groups. There will be a forum on moral courage with representatives of various industries. Weltklasse Zurich and Swiss Athletics will jointly hold workshops for athletes and coaches and, in cooperation with Antidoping Schweiz, events for members of staff will be organised. In addition, parents of young talents will be able to participate in workshops to sensitise them to the aspects of clean sports.

“Swiss Athletics attaches great importance to the aspect of doping prevention,” said Peter Bohnenblust, CEO of Swiss Athletics. “Swiss Athletics has already taken various steps, such as the new ethics charter. As we are part of a global sport, however, we rely on fair play and clean sports rules being respected everywhere in the world. That is the only way to ensure equal opportunities for Swiss athletes. The new fair play programme is a valuable initiative and will set an example both on a national and an international level.”

Mathias Kamber, director of the Antidoping Schweiz foundation, said: “All parties involved, including meeting promoters and federations, must join forces in the fight against doping. Therefore, I am delighted about this initiative by Weltklasse Zurich and Swiss Athletics. And we look forward to be an active partner in the new fair play programme.”

Organisers for the IAAF