Global doping agency suspends Rio lab weeks before Olympics

25 Jun, 2016 10:15 am

RIO DE JANEIRO – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the credentials of a testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro for failing to comply with international standards, just over a month before the city hosts the Olympic Games.

Although the suspension adds to embarrassments for Brazil in the run-up to the Olympics, it is unlikely to affect the Games since the agency has arranged testing elsewhere, as it did when the same Rio lab lost its credentials before the 2014 World Cup.

The lab at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said on Friday that its operations should return to normal in July after a technical visit from WADA, ahead of the start of the Games on Aug 5.

Still, the suspension adds to concerns about Rio’s readiness to host the global sporting event as public services suffer amid a crisis in state finances.

Technical errors leading to false positives were likely the cause of the suspension, a source familiar with the decision said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The lab has analyzed about 2,000 blood and urine samples this year, including testing of Brazil’s Olympic team and top-flight soccer matches. The source could not say whether the false positives came during active testing or calibration of the lab’s systems.

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