Lab suspension will not compromise testing - SAIDS

Khalid Galant (Supplied)
Khalid Galant (Supplied)

Cape Town - The fight against doping in sport will continue to be robust in spite of full accreditation again being withheld from the local laboratory which does testing, says the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).

For the past year SAIDS has already been sending drug test samples from local athletes to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratories in various countries, including Qatar, Belgium, Italy and the USA.

This has been done since WADA initially withdrew accreditation from the SA Doping Control Laboratory at the University of the Free State for 12 months in May last year. The 12-month suspension period is now over and - in spite of a temporary and partial relaxing of the suspension by WADA in August 2016 that allowed blood analyses - the full accreditation has again been withheld. The laboratory will continue to do testing of blood samples but not urine.

The laboratory is run independently of SAIDS and reports to the University of the Free State.  SAIDS is its primary customer for the analysis of doping control samples. SAIDS remains committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of the University of Free State to regain the full accreditation of the doping control laboratory.

“SAIDS is disappointed to learn of WADA’s decision not to restore the laboratory’s full accreditation, clearly the steps taken to ensure compliance have still fallen short of WADA’s standards” said SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant.

“Drug testing in sport in South Africa has not been significantly affected but the cost of testing has increased substantially, mainly due to overseas courier costs,” said Galant.

“SAIDS would like to reassure national sports federations and athletes that protecting clean sport is our priority and that drug testing will continue along the robust lines that have become expected of us,” said Galant.

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