WADA suspends Olympic testing lab in Rio

The World Anti Doping Agency has suspended the drug testing lab in Rio charged with overseeing the 2016 Olympics.

With just six weeks before the start of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the World Anti Doping Agency has shut down the laboratory that was to handle the games’ drug testing. In a statement issued by WADA, it was revealed that the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory in Rio de Janeiro has been suspended due to “non-conformity” to WADA standards.

This is not the first offense for Brazil’s primary drug testing lab. In 2013 it was suspended for almost two years, and was only reinstated in 2015 after it carried out millions of dollars in retrofitting and renovations.

WADA head David Howman told the New Zealand website that he thought it was unlikely that the lab would be ready for the games. “This lab produced a whole list of false positives, and falsely accusing people is top of the pile of serious issues,” Howman said.

As a backup plan, WADA said it will transfer any samples at the lab to testing facilities outside of Brazil.

“In the meantime, WADA will work closely with the Rio Laboratory to resolve the identified issue,” said Olivier Niggli, Incoming Director General. “This will ensure that there are no gaps in the anti-doping sample analysis procedures; and that, the integrity of the samples is fully maintained,” he continued. “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.”