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May 18, 2021

Rio drug lab recertified for Olympic testing

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Image: 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

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Wednesday reinstated credentials of a drug testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, ending a month-long suspension that had threatened to embarrass the host country.

The decision avoided a backup scheme to send blood and urine samples from Olympic athletes to labs outside Brazil during the Games. Similar steps were taken after the same lab at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro lost its credentials for the 2014 World Cup, also held in Brazil.

The agency did not explain how the lab had failed to comply with international standards in June or what steps had been taken to fix the situation. Technical errors leading to false results were likely the cause of the suspension, a source familiar with the decision told Reuters in June.

“Athletes can be confident that anti-doping sample analysis has been robust throughout the laboratory’s suspension and that it will also be during the Games,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said in a statement.

The suspension just weeks ahead of the Olympics was a high-profile black eye for the lab, in which Brazil recently invested 188 million reais ($58 million) for new equipment and facilities.

Doping is a major concern ahead of the Rio Games on Aug. 5-21, the first Olympics to be held in South America. Several anti-doping agencies are pushing to ban Russian athletes after charges of state-backed doping at the 2014 winter Olympics.

($1 = 3.25 Brazilian reais)

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Richard Chang)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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