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WADA suspends Africa’s only anti-doping lab

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has suspended the accreditation of South Africa’s Bloemfontein Anti-Doping Laboratory, the only accredited laboratory in Africa, for “multiple non-conformities” with international standards.

They announced it had suspended the accreditation of Africa’s only accredited anti-doping laboratory from 1st of March, due to “multiple non-compliances” to meet international standards.

In a statement, WADA said it had suspended the accreditation of the South African Anti-Doping Laboratory in Bloemfontein for up to six months.

The Bloemfontein laboratory had already been placed under some restrictions in September last year, while other anti-doping activities were allowed to continue.

WADA said that experts had advised the agency to suspend the facility’s accreditation due to “multiple non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories”. WADA said the Bloemfontein laboratory had accepted the suspension, which came into effect on 1 March.

“The suspension … prohibits the laboratory from conducting any anti-doping activities, including the analysis of urine and blood samples, with the exception of analyses related to the haematology module of the Athlete Biological Passport”, WADA said in a statement.

They said the laboratory will be allowed to apply for reinstatement once it has demonstrated that all identified “non-conformities” have been addressed.

As a result, testing must be conducted at another accredited laboratory during the suspension period. Samples awaiting analysis, samples undergoing confirmation procedures, and any samples for which an Adverse Analytical Finding has been reported must be sent to another WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis.

“This is to ensure the continued high quality of sample analysis, which will also help to maintain athletes’ confidence in the process and the anti-doping system as a whole”, WADA concluded.

This sanction comes at a time when WADA is implementing the Athlete Engagement and Anti-Doping Legacy programmes at the 2023 African Games to promote clean sport during the 2023 African Games in Accra, Ghana. WADA will have its Athlete Engagement and Major Event Legacy (MEAL) teams present at the Games, which will be held from 8 to 23 March 2024.

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