Olympic Athlete Drug-Testing Lab Gets Seal of Approval - NBC4 Washington
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Olympic Athlete Drug-Testing Lab Gets Seal of Approval

The World Anti-Doping Agency has accredited the lab and declared it ready to operate



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    A drug-testing lab technician puts blood samples in a centrifuge at just before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The lab in London for testing athletes for doping has just gotten the seal of approval to open ahead of the 2012 games there.

    The laboratory that will test athletes for drugs at the London Olympics has been declared ready by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    The lab at King's College London Drug Control Center was accredited by WADA on Monday following a two-year testing program that examined the lab's equipment, staff and procedures.

    Officials from WADA's science department made several visits to the lab in central London, with the site subject to three formal inspections and dummy sample testing.

    The King's College lab usually deals with about 8,000 samples per year. It expects to handle more than 6,250 during the Olympics and Paralympics, with about half the competing athletes and every medalist set to be tested.

    "Achieving WADA accreditation means that the London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory will operate to the highest standards of sample analysis during the Olympic and Paralympic Games," WADA President John Fahey said.

    "Doping athletes must know that there is a very good chance they will be tested this summer and that everything scientifically possible — and with the assistance of growing intelligence — will be done to make sure that their efforts to cheat are detected by the experts at the laboratory."

    The laboratory is the size of seven tennis courts and will test as many as 400 samples per day during the Olympics and Paralympics — more than at any previous games. It will run 24 hours a day.

    "The WADA accreditation is a green light signal that the lab is ready," said Jonathan Harris, the London organizing committee's anti-doping manager.

    More than 1,000 staff from the London organizing committee will be involved in anti-doping efforts, with 150 scientists working at the lab.

    Some results will be available within 24 hours of the test.

    "I am thrilled to receive official accreditation from WADA at such an early stage," lab director David Cowan said. "We have demonstrated that everything is in place and we are well prepared to deliver robust testing for the games.

    "This accreditation provides recognition of our ability to operate an effective anti-doping laboratory."