Doping is sure to be one of the topics of conversation which dominates the Olympics this summer. And scandal has been brewing across the world for quite some time now.
South Africa’s Doping Control Laboratory based at Bloemfontein’s University of the Free State has just been sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). It analyses around 3,000 samples a year. There are fewer than 100 days before the Olympics. Luckily, the lab in Rio de Janeiro narrowly missed suspension.
Beijing, Moscow and Lisbon have faced similar fates in the past month.
According to Wada, the laboratory can apply for reinstatement after September 30 and has three weeks in which to appeal the decision. However, for the time being, testing at the laboratory will not be valid:
‘The suspension, which takes effect immediately, prohibits the Laboratory from carrying out any anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples. During the period of suspension, samples are required to be transported securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory, ensuring that athletes can have full confidence in continued high quality sample analysis and the wider anti-doping system.’
Kenya and Ethiopia will have to send their samples to other continents (Doha, Qatar is an option) and it promises to be quite the administrative nightmare at the African track and field championships in June.