Just weeks before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympics, the city’s anti-doping laboratory, which regained its international accreditation last year, has been suspended by the World Anti-Doping agency.
CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio. Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco
Brazil’s only anti-doping lab suspended despite million dollar upgradeIt was the only accredited anti-doping laboratory in Brazil and was supposed to operate 24/7 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio.
It was the only accredited anti-doping laboratory in Brazil — revamped at a cost of about $60 million — and was supposed to operate 24/7 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The lab, on Rio’s Federal University campus, regained its accreditation in May 2015 coming off a three-year suspension for outdated equipment.
Now, just weeks before the games begin, it’s shut again.
WADA said in a statement that samples will be transported “securely, promptly and with demonstrable chain of custody to another WADA-accredited laboratory worldwide.”
The ban prohibiting the Rio lab from carrying out tests on urine and blood samples will remain in effect for six months or until the WADA reviews the case. But Rio 2016 organizers said they believe the issue will be solved in time.
“We are waiting instructions from WADA on how they want the doping control to be performed for the Rio 2016 games,” Mario Andrada, Rio 2016 spokesperson, said. “We believe that despite the short time we have for the games it will be possible and mandatory for us to have a system.”
Though the lab can appeal, during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, samples from football players were tested in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Andrada said the same solution hasn’t been ruled out for the Olympics.
“One possibility that we have if WADA so decides is that we ship the samples abroad to be tested by a foreign laboratory,” Andrada said. “It is not a big deal for us because we have supports of the local airline, so we can transport the samples in our daily flights to Europe or the U.S.”
Though Rio 2016 organizers admit the sudden suspension of Rio’s brand new lab is a blow for the host city, they said they’re 100 percent committed to a clean games.