WADA lifts suspension of doping lab for 2016 Rio Olympics

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MONTREAL (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency has lifted the suspension of the drug-testing lab in Rio de Janeiro, clearing the way for its use at next year's Olympics.

WADA revoked the credentials of Rio's lab in 2013 because of "repeated failures" in meeting agency standards.

"This decision was made after the laboratory completed the required remedial work stipulated in the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL)," WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said Wednesday.

Nichols said the decision was approved by WADA's executive committee.

The suspension of the lab forced officials to send samples to Switzerland for last year's World Cup in Brazil.

"It's important for Brazil, the first South American country to host the Olympics, to have a laboratory accredited by WADA," Brazilian Sports Minister George Hilton said in a statement. The ministry said doping tests would take place at 44 Olympic test events, which begin in two months.

WADA said a laboratory in Ankara, Turkey, was also approved. It said one in Santiago, Chile, was granted candidate laboratory status and will be considered for future accreditation.

There are 34 WADA-accredited laboratories across the world.

WADA said six national anti-doping agencies or national Olympic committees had not complied with the revised World Anti-Doping Code. They are: El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, North Korea, Sierra Leone and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dr. Richard Budgett, the medical and scientific director of the International Olympic Committee, said recently that the IOC planned to conduct "roughly the same number" of tests in Rio as the 5,000 it carried out in London.

Rather than increasing the number of tests, as the IOC usually does at each games, Budgett said "we want to move away from a total focus on numbers" and concentrate on intelligent, targeted and flexible testing.

The approval removes one stumbling block for Rio organizers, who are facing numerous hurdles: severe water pollution at venues for canoeing, rowing and sailing; tight deadlines for finishing many venues; worries about crime and security in a city of 12 million; and tight budgets, with Brazil predicted to slide into recession this year.

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