Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has warned it is going to be difficult to ensure the drug testing operation at Rio 2016 is as efficient as that of London 2012 because of the delays in the construction schedule.
The progress of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), also known as LADETEC, laboratory has been a major concern for the Brazilian organisers since WADA revoked its accreditation last August after it failed to meet the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).
The news that drug testing at the FIFA World Cup this summer will be carried out in Lausanne because of the absence of an operational facility in host country Brazil only served to heighten those fears and, although Sir Craig said the national drugs testing organisation is being re-established, he admitted a significant challenge still lies ahead.
“It’s [the lab] recruiting and we need them to be efficient and very effective,” the International Olympic Committee vice-president told CNN.
“It’s going to be difficult to replicate in Rio the system that was put in place with the International Olympic Committee and UK Anti-Doping [at London 2012], which worked beautifully and that’s because the national anti-doping organisation was very, very good.
“In Rio, we couldn’t say that at the moment…they don’t have a laboratory.
“Their laboratory lost its accreditation because clearly it was inefficient.”
Rio 2016 has faced severe embarrassment and criticism over the sluggish construction work at its Games venues but Sir Craig said the anti-doping problem has more to do with than just the development of the facility.
A new laboratory in the host city is nearing completion but he warned that this would be merely the start of a solution, with proper equipment, appropriate personnel and certain standards also being vital before accreditation could be reinstated.
He does, however, claim that all is not yet lost as there is still time for the Brazilian Government to make things right ahead of the Games.
“There’s time to do it,” Sir Craig added.
“This demands will on the part of the Brazilian Government, it’s not an Organising Committee problem, it’s a Government problem.
“It’s up to them to develop and fund the nation anti-doping organisation and laboratory.
“And if they do that then yes it can be done, but if they don’t and it slips it’s a problem.”
This article first appeared in www.insidethegames.biz and is reproduced with permission.