World Anti-Doping Agency Suspends Rio Drug Testing Lab 6 Weeks Before Olympics

By Denisse Moreno, Epoch Times
June 24, 2016 4:51 pm Last Updated: June 24, 2016 5:06 pm

The 2016 Rio Olympics can’t seem to catch a break.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has shut down Rio’s drug testing lab just weeks before the Olympic games begin, the organization announced on June 24.

WADA suspended the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory due to “non-conformity” with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL),  WADA said in a statement. The suspension was implemented on June 22.  

The Rio lab is banned from carrying out all anti-doping analysis on urine and blood samples.   

However, the lab may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Switzerland within 21 days.

Meanwhile, WADA says it will work with the lab to resolve identified issues.

“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,” Olivier Niggli, WADA’s Incoming Director General said.

“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,” said Niggli.

This not the first time Rio’s lab has run into problems. The lab’s status was revoked in 2013, a year before hosting the FIFA World Cup. A hefty sum was paid to get the lab running again.

The Games this summer have been tainted by various incidents in Brazil, including the Zika virus scare, crime, the economic crisis, the ousting of President Dilma Rousseff, and the recent killing of a jaguar used at an Olympic ceremony.

The Rio Olympics is set to commence on Aug. 5.