The UK has become one of only three countries worldwide to have more than one laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The UK has become one of only three countries worldwide to have more than one laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Montreal-based WADA oversees drug-testing in sport around the world and is jointly funded by the Olympic Movement and international governments.
News that Newmarket-based firm HFL had been accredited even took officials at HFL by surprise; they weren’t expecting to hear until after the Olympics in Athens (13-29 August). The pre-games announcement, made in early July, set some observers wondering if HFL might be called in at some point during the upcoming event, though HFL officials rule out such speculation, stressing that all drugs tests will be carried out in Athens. Nevertheless, HFL may well test samples from British athletes preparing for the games.
HFL began seeking accreditation seven years ago, says chief executive David Hall, broken by an 18-month gap when both the company and the drugs-testing body underwent reorganisation. The first application was made to the International Olympic Committee, which subsequently handed over administration of drugs testing to WADA in 1999.
HFL was set up in 1963 to provide drug-testing services to British Horseracing and subsequently to the National Greyhound Racing Club, both of which groups it still serves. Today it provides drug surveillance services for over 20 countries and performs sample analysis for clinical-trials run by the pharmaceutical industry.
The only WADA-approved lab in the UK previously was at King’s College London. There are now 32 WADA-approved labs in the world, and the only other countries to support two such facilities are Spain and Germany.