WADA chief calms fears over lab suspensions


Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has moved to reassure athletes after the body suspended the accreditation of three of its drug-testing laboratories.

The labs in Beijing, Bloemfontein and Lisbon have been suspended, raising concerns over the integrity of the anti-doping process.

With the spotlight firmly on the subject of drugs in athletics ahead of the Olympics in Rio in August, Reedie released a statement to placate any doubters.

"As president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), I acknowledge the high level of interest surrounding the recent suspension of accreditation of the Beijing, Bloemfontein and Lisbon laboratories," the statement read.

"I am also aware that these suspensions come at a time when the eyes of the sporting world are fixed on the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"Understandably, some athletes might question whether, in light of these suspensions, they can retain full confidence in anti-doping sample analysis procedures.

"It is important for athletes to note that, as a result of these suspensions, all samples will now be transported securely to one of the remaining 31 WADA-accredited laboratories worldwide, thereby ensuring that there are no gaps in the anti-doping sample analysis procedures and that the integrity of the samples is fully maintained.

"Athletes need not be concerned that the laboratory's past sample analysis would be in any way compromised by the suspension, as WADA requires suspended laboratories to reassess results of past analysis and reanalyse past athlete samples from a determined period of time as needed. This is an important safeguard that protects the clean athlete.

"I can assure you that WADA is committed to supporting all of its accredited laboratories in maintaining or reaching the Agency's more stringent laboratory monitoring standards; and, with this, athletes can have full confidence that this, too, is a strong link of the anti-doping chain.

"WADA will continue to work with the suspended laboratories to ensure that the necessary requirements are met."