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Friday, January 20, 2012

London 2012 unveils new Olympic test lab

Professor David Cowan, the chief drugs scientist of the 2012 London Olympic Games revealed on Thursday night that this summer’s Olympics will feature around 5,000 separate urine and blood samples – eclipsing the previous high of 4,770 at the Beijing Games in 2008 – and another 1,250 at the Paralympics. As well as the random sampling, all Olympic medalists will be tested as a matter of routine. Cowan admits it will be impossible to guarantee a “drug-free” Games, but is confident that none of the previous competitions will be able to match London for the vigour and scope of the dope testing. “The testing for these Games has the benefit of four more years of advancement in science, newer equipment, and new technology that makes the detection super-fast,” said Cowan, the director of King’s College drug control centre, which will run the Olympic drug testing programme.

Cowan continued..."Part of that is the extended windows of detection, but we can also test for more and more substances while still using small amounts of urine so that the imposition on the athletes is minimised. It would be foolish to say these Olympics would be drug-free but my advice to athletes is if they take the risk they will get caught. With 50 per cent of the athletes being tested, anybody who does try to cheat will stand a good chance of detection. The blood and urine samples from athletes will be stored after the Games for eight years to enable retrospective testing on the samples when new tests for more drugs are developed.

Olympics minister Hugh Robertson, who revealed that procedures enabling police drugs raids on athletes rooms at the Olympic village were “under negotiation”, said: “We are doing all we can to ensure there is no place to hide for drug cheats at the London Olympics. Of course we cannot absolutely guarantee that these will be a drug-free Games, but we can guarantee we have got the very best system possible to try to catch anybody who even thinks of cheating.”

Doping statistics
- Up to 6,250 samples will be tested during Games time – more than any other Games
- The Anti-Doping workforce at the Games will be over 1,000 people
- Up to one in two athletes will be tested at the Olympic Games including every Olympic medallist
- The laboratory will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
- Up to 400 samples will be tested every day
- The shortest test turnaround time will be 24hrs (some tests will take longer)
- The laboratory is 4,400 square metres in size – the same size as seven tennis courts
- A team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists will carry out the testing during the Games.

A video clip showing how samples are tested can be seen here......

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