The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the accreditation of the Doping Control Laboratory in Doha, Qatar, which has been doing doping control analyses for South Africa.
The suspension by WADA will last a minimum of four months during which the laboratory will be required to “address all non-conformities identified by the Laboratory Expert Group or WADA”, said WADA in a statement.
The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) had been sending doping control samples from South African athletes to Doha for analysis. However, SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant said the Doha suspension would not have a negative impact on the integrity of SAIDS’s testing results.
“There is a global network of WADA-accredited laboratories and we will use those that are the most cost-efficient,” said Galant. “This means that the turn-around time of results might be affected by a few extra days because of longer transportation times, but the accuracy of testing will not be compromised.”
He pointed out that “no matter where doping control samples are analysed, all results are inputted into a global database (ADAMS) and are immediately available for reporting”.
In March this year SAIDS began sending samples to Doha while the South African Doping Control Laboratory at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein temporarily shut down part of its operation and subsequently also had its accreditation revoked in May.
In August 2016, the Bloemfontein laboratory’s accreditation for testing blood samples was reinstated.
The laboratory has yet to complete the re-accreditation process for analysing urine samples from sport. It is anticipated this process will be completed within the first half of 2017.
“SAIDS would like to re-iterate that it will continue drug testing in sport as part of its mandate to protect clean sport in South Africa,” Galant added.