Rio de Janeiro may not have an anti-doping laboratory for the Olympic Games this summer.
The World Anti-Doping Agency said Friday it was suspending the city’s accredited laboratory from conducting tests on urine and blood samples due to “non-conformity” with the International Standard for Laboratories. The suspension, which took place Wednesday, will remain in place until the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory “is operating optimally.” WADA did not specify on the lab’s shortcomings.
Announcing the suspension, Olivier Niggli, the incoming director general of WADA, said:
“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. 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.”
The lab has had several issues in recent years. It lost its certification before the 2014 soccer World Cup, also held in Rio. Authorities had to outsource its drug testing to a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In that case, authorities had to transport the samples from 32 teams across the Atlantic. But in the Olympics, with far more teams competing, it’s a greater challenge to get testing done in a timely fashion.