Global doping agency suspends Rio lab weeks before Olympics

Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:44pm EDT
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By Pedro Fonseca

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - 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.

The lab at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said on Friday that it expected its operations would 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 suspension will only be lifted by WADA when the laboratory is operating optimally," Olivier Niggli, the incoming director general of the agency, said in a statement.

He did not provide details about the problems at the lab.

"The best solution will be put in place to ensure that sample analysis for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games is robust," Niggli said.

WADA's decision is the latest black eye for the Rio anti-doping lab, after a lack of credentials forced testing for the 2014 World Cup to take place in Switzerland.   Continued...

A woman works at the Brazilian Laboratory of Doping Control during its inauguration before the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/File Photo