Rio’s drug-testing laboratory has had its accreditation suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The organisation suspended the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory in Rio on 22 June due to “non-conformity” with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).
With just weeks to go until the Olympics start, the laboratory is banned from carrying out any anti-doping analysis on urine and blood samples.
Olivier Niggli, incoming director general at the agency, said it is “working closely” with the Rio laboratory to “resolve the identified issue”.
“Athletes can have confidence that the suspension will only be lifted by WADA when the laboratory is operating optimally,” said Mr Niggli.
“The best solution will be put in place to ensure that sample analysis for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games is robust.”
He also said samples that would have gone to the Rio laboratory will be taken “securely, promptly and with a demonstrable chain of custody” to another accredited laboratory in the world.
WADA declined to comment further on which laboratories are likely to be used instead and a WADA spokesman told H&H yesterday (30 June) that it has “no further comment to make at this time”.
An FEI spokesman said they have been told by Rio organisers that they are working with the relevant authorities to resolve the issue.
“The Rio 2016 organising committee and the FEI are totally committed to a clean Games,” he added.
The provisional suspension lasts for six months or until WADA decides to reverse it, based on a recommendation by the disciplinary committee for the ISL.
But the directors of the laboratory have released a statement, which says they expect its operations to be back to normal in July.
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The Brazilian Doping Control Authority (ABCD) has stressed the importance of the laboratory conducting tests at this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“ABCD trusts the work done by the laboratory — with over 2,500 tests conducted since opening – and is confident that the institution will take all the necessary measures for the provisional suspension imposed as a prevention by WADA to be reviewed as soon as possible,” said an ABCD spokesman.