Six weeks before the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the laboratory that was set to handle drug testing at the Games has been suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency in a new escalation of world sport’s doping crisis.
WADA — the global regulator of doping in sports that oversees some three dozen testing labs around the world — confirmed the suspension Friday, citing a “nonconformity” with international standards.
The Rio de Janeiro lab had a disciplinary record. It was suspended in 2013 — a year before Brazil hosted soccer’s World Cup — and was reinstated by WADA only last year.
To win back its certification, the lab spent roughly 200 million Brazilian real, or about $60 million, to retrofit three floors of facilities at a federal university in Rio and train more than 90 technicians. That included a substantial commitment of government money in the face of a pronounced recession.
Dilma Rousseff, who was removed as Brazil’s president this year amid a sweeping graft scandal, signed a measure in March to ensure the lab’s policies were changed in accordance with global standards such that its certification to run Olympic testing was not revoked.
On Friday, however, WADA suggested that effort had not been enough.