World Doping Agency Suspends Rio’s Olympic Drug-Testing Lab
It's doubtful the suspension will be lifted by the start of the Olympics in six weeks.Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Olympics News
Amid a world wide Olympic doping crisis, ranging from the ban on the Russian track team from this year’s games as well as the rise of mechanical doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the drug testing lab meant for testing Olympians at this year’s Rio Games.
According to an official statement, the organization shut down the lab “due to a non-conformity with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).” While suspended, the lab will not be allowed to perform any tests on current or incoming athletic urine and blood samples.
“The Agency will ensure that, for the time being, samples that would have been intended for the Laboratory, will be transported securely, promptly and with a demonstrable chain of custody to another WADA-accredited laboratory worldwide,” said incoming agency Director General Olivier Niggli.
According to the New York Times, the suspended lab at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro was shut down in 2013 and reinstated last year after spending nearly 200 million Brazilian reais (or $60 million) on technician training and structural improvements.
The lab has 21 days to make an appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, according to the Times, WADA officials are doubtful of the short six week time frame for a reversal of that magnitude to occur.
“Athletes can have confidence that the suspension will only be lifted by WADA when the Laboratory is operating optimally; and that, the best solution will be put in place to ensure that sample analysis for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games is robust,” said Niggli.
With the lab suspended, the International Olympics Committee will be responsible for reliably transporting athletic sample to another WADA certified lab.