Press releases 14 March 2016

SA doping control samples to be tested in Qatar

Doping control samples taken from athletes in South Africa will be tested in Doha, Qatar, for six months while operations at the WADA accredited laboratory that normally does the analysis are being upgraded. The South African Doping Control Laboratory based at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein will be shutting down part of its operation for six months to perform equipment upgrades and to improved staff capacity and training. The laboratory will not do any urine sample analyses for six months from April 1 but will continue to test blood samples.

“We support the steps being taken by the Bloemfontein laboratory and understand that it has been under severe resource constraints,” said Galant. “We are working together with the University management and Laboratory staff to ensure that this is just a temporary measure and it will be back online and operating as well as ever after the six-month break.”

SAIDS chief executive officer Khalid Galant pointed out that the Qatar laboratory was accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in August 2015 and is a world class facility.  The turn-around time of analyses will not be compromised because there are two flights to Qatar every day from South Africa to transport samples. “There will therefore be no negative impact on the test distribution plan for South African sport and testing in sport will continue to be robust,” he said.

Blood analysis for Athlete Biological Passports and growth hormones would continue to be done in Bloemfontein. The laboratory is the only one in Africa accredited by WADA to do doping control analyses.

• This media release was originally sent out via email by the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS) on 14 March 2016.

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