WADA chief: Rio lab could be accredited soon ahead of games
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The suspension of Rio de Janeiro’s anti-doping laboratory could be lifted within two months in a crucial step to ensure effective drug-testing at next year’s Olympics, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday.
WADA revoked the credentials of Rio’s lab in 2013 because of “repeated failures” in meeting the agency’s standards. As a result, doping samples from last year’s World Cup had to be flown to a lab in Switzerland for testing.
A joint task force of WADA and the International Olympic Committee is in Rio this week to assess the Brazilian lab’s progress in complying with international procedures.
“We are hopeful that the laboratory will meet its final tests, and it could be accredited by the time of the next WADA meeting in May,” Reedie said. “That would be a real step forward.”
Issues regarding blood-testing remain to be resolved before officials can recommend to the WADA board that the lab should be reinstated, he said.
“The laboratory ... needs to have its capacity built to deliver the number of tests that will be necessary,” Reedie said.
The IOC conducted more than 5,000 blood and urine tests during the 2012 London Olympics. The number of planned tests for the Rio Games hasn’t been announced yet, but the total will likely be higher.
The IOC is determined to avoid the experience of FIFA, which sent samples to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne during the World Cup, posing serious financial and logistical challenges.
Reedie, also an IOC vice president, said there was not a Plan B in discussion for the Rio Olympic testing.
Reedie delivered a report to the IOC executive board on the opening morning of its three-day meeting in Rio. He updated the board on WADA’s independent investigation into allegations — first broadcast in a German TV documentary last year — of organized doping and cover-ups in Russia.
Reedie said he could not discuss specifics while the inquiry was underway. The investigation, headed by former WADA head Dick Pound, was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
Reedie flew to Rio from Jamaica, where he praised the country’s moves to set up a credible drug-testing program following revelations of a complete breakdown in out-of-competition testing before the London Olympics. Jamaica produces many of the world’s greatest sprinters, including six-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
“There has been a complete reorganization of the system in Jamaica,” Reedie said. “They have got strong government support, backed up by their prime minister, the sports minister, a complete new governance, a completely new board. They’ve really got their act together very well.”
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