Two New Zealand athletes have been elected to prestigious international athlete representation bodies.
Ben Sandford has been elected chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Committee while boxer David Nyika has been appointed to the Olympic Boxing Task Force group, working to shape the future of boxing at the Olympic Games.
Sandford's election will see the Olympian, who also sits on the New Zealand Olympic Athletes' Commission, advise WADA on the views of athletes worldwide in the fight against doping.
"I'm a huge believer in clean sport and athletes being involved in decision making so I'm really looking forward to representing the Athlete Committee," said Sandford.
"We've got some big projects coming up and there's a lot to do but it's extremely important that athletes have a voice within ant-doping."
Above: Ben Sandford
This is a significant appointment in the world of international sport and New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) CEO Kereyn Smith congratulated Sandford on the appointment.
“Ben is an effective leader and will have a have a positive impact at this critical time in world sport.
“He comes from a nation that is known for its values in sport and commitment to integrity and this influential role sees New Zealand continue to have a voice at the top tables of international sport.”
The 40-year-old competed in the skeleton for New Zealand at three Winter Olympic Games.
The NZOC actively supported Sandford’s original application to join the WADA Athlete Committee in 2015.
Sandford is also a member of the NZOC Integrity Commission.
Boxer David Nyika takes up his athlete representation role effective immediately.
The IOC Executive Board last year suspended its recognition of AIBA (the International Boxing Association).
In the wake of the suspension, the IOC setup an Olympic Boxing Task Force (BTF) to organise the sports qualification for, and tournament at, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist has been named to the Boxing Athlete Ambassadors Group.
The Group has been created to represent boxers, and promote the athletes’ views and feedback to the Boxing Task Force in the build up to the Games.
“Boxing has been my life for the past 10 years and I wouldn’t be the person I am without the influence of this sport," said Nyika.
"I owe a lot to boxing and I’m really passionate about the sport so this is the perfect chance to give back and create some positive change.
“I feel like our voices have gone unheard in the past so to have a platform to provide feedback is a real positive.
“Change is exactly what boxing has been needing for a while. Now that we have a voice it’s going to be great to make the sport more focussed on the athletes who make boxing what it is.”
Above: David Nyika at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
The Athlete Ambassadors will engage with other boxing athletes face-to-face at competition sites, as well as through digital channels, on issues that are most prevalent within the boxing community.
The Athlete Ambassadors Group is composed of ten boxers – one man and one woman – from each of the five regions, providing gender balance and global representation.
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith congratulated David on the appointment.
“This is a great opportunity to influence the direction of boxing going forward at the Olympic Games,” she said.
“It’s fantastic for New Zealand’s voice in global sport and we know David will do a great job.”
The NZOC and its Athletes Commission will support David in the role. The 24-year-old is working to qualify for Tokyo 2020