WADA expects Russian lab to avoid Olympic ban
ZURICH (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency expects the Russian laboratory assigned to test samples at the Sochi Olympics to meet Sunday’s deadline for improving its operations.
WADA director general David Howman said Friday he is awaiting paperwork from the Moscow lab that faces potential suspension for the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games.
“I have no reason to have any concern about it,” Howman told The Associated Press on the sidelines of an anti-doping conference hosted by FIFA.
WADA threatened the lab with a six-month suspension if it failed to satisfy two demands: detail a new management program by Dec. 1 and implement it by April 1.
“There is a genuine desire to make sure things are done properly,” Howman said. “There is no anxiety, no concerns.”
WADA accredits testing labs worldwide, though the International Olympic Committee is responsible for testing at the games.
Moscow is setting up a “satellite” lab in Sochi to test samples during the games. If the lab is suspended, the IOC would have to ship the samples out of the country to another lab, a costly procedure.
On another issue, Howman said WADA is improving relations with Jamaica following recent revelations that its testing program collapsed before the 2012 London Olympics, where its sprinters dominated the track.
Jamaica has followed through on promises made by Sports Minister Natalie Neita-Headley at a WADA conference in Johannesburg two weeks ago, Howman said.
“So far, Jamaica has done everything the minister told me they would do,” he said.
Resignations of all 12 members of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission will take effect at the end of the year and four staff are set to be hired to bolster a revamped testing program.
Howman said Jamaica’s government had also promised funding for the national agency, which could build links with Canadian anti-doping officials as mentors.
“We were never out to get Jamaica,” Howman said. “We were always there to make sure they would get their program back on track.”