Beijing lab suspended in Wada's doping war

BEIJING • China's National Anti- doping Laboratory admitted yesterday that it failed to identify two positive samples in a test by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The admission comes a day after Wada suspended its accreditation, just months before the Rio Olympics. The ban, for a maximum of four months, means the laboratory is barred from carrying out Wada-related tests such as blood and urine analysis.

Wada did not specify the reasons for Thursday's decision but, in a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (Chinada), the laboratory said it had reported two incorrect negative results in what turned out to be a Wada test carried out in October last year.

"Beijing Laboratory will complete its corrective actions and then apply for reinstatement of accreditation after Wada's review," it said.

The explanation calls into question the accuracy of its work. It is the latest controversy to hit Chinese sport, and comes weeks after drugs allegations in Chinese swimming.

The country has become a leading Olympic power, topping the medals table at the Beijing 2008 Games and finishing second behind the United States in 2004 and 2012.

China was also second in the swimming events at London 2012 after distance specialist Sun Yang - who secretly served a brief drugs ban in 2014 - and medley sensation Ye Shiwen led them to five gold medals.

Montreal-based Wada said in a statement that China can appeal the suspension and can also apply for reinstatement if it takes five unspecified "remedial steps" and addresses its "non-conformities".

The suspension of the Beijing laboratory comes after three Chinese swimmers tested positive for clenbuterol, with two, neither of them well known, let off with warnings in late March.

China's national swimming body also said three other unidentified swimmers had tested positive for a banned diuretic and were awaiting hearings. That announcement came after whistleblowers told Britain's The Times newspaper that five positive drug tests had been covered up by Chinese authorities.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline 'Beijing lab suspended in Wada's doping war'. Print Edition | Subscribe