World Anti-Doping Agency say drug testing won't be affected despite laboratory suspensions

Four WADA accredited labs have been suspended in the past year

The World Anti-Doping Agency has offered reassurances that drug testing ahead of the Rio Olympics will not suffer, despite four testing labs being banned in the last year.

Yesterday, Bloemfontein laboratory in South Africa became the latest WADA-accredited laboratory to be suspended.

WADA do not state a specific reason for the suspension but state that the laboratory must address “all non-conformities identified in its External Quality Assessment Scheme (EQAS) program and any other non-conformities identified in the course of WADA site visits during the suspension period.”

It joins labs in Lisbon and Beijing that were last month suspended for failure to meet standards. Moscow's laboratory’s accreditation was revoked last year following revelations of state‑sponsored doping in Russia.

“There is a very robust pre-Rio anti-doping programme in place," said an organisation spokesperson, "Central to this is the establishment of an intelligence group that will have oversight of all pre‑Games testing conducted by national anti-doping organisations and international federations.

“The work of this intelligence group will allow for target testing, and ensure that there are no gaps in the pre-Games programme.

“Once the Olympic Village opens, the information obtained by this intelligence group will be transferred to the IOC, Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency, WADA Independent Observer team and other experts to ensure that effective testing continues during that period and the Games itself.

“During the period of suspension for the Bloemfontein, Lisbon and Beijing laboratories, all samples will be sent securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory where they will be analysed, ensuring that athletes can have full confidence in continued high-quality sample analysis and the wider anti-doping system.

“Whenever a laboratory does not meet the stringent standards set by WADA, we have the ability to suspend the laboratory’s accreditation – this demonstrates the importance of upholding the highest standards, so that athletes retain full confidence in the system.”

Samples tested at the Bloemfontein facility will now have to be retested in one of the 30 other accredited labs across the world.