The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) unveiled the WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory which will operate during the London 2012 Games on Thursday (19 January).
LOCOG, laboratory service providers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and laboratory operators King’s College London, welcomed Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics for a tour of the facility which is based in Harlow, Essex.
More than 6,250 samples will be analyzed throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, up to 400 each day which is more than at any other Games. The laboratory, which measures the size of seven tennis courts, will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Over 1,000 LOCOG staff will work within the Anti-Doping process and a team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists will carry out the testing at the laboratory, led independently by Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.
The facility, which has been provided by pharmaceutical company GSK, will be operated by leading anti-doping experts from King’s College London and supported by scientists from around the world.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that there is no place to hide for drug cheats at London 2012,” said Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics.
“Our message to any athlete thinking about doping is simple – we’ll catch you. This lab, from GlaxoSmithKline and King’s College London, is at the forefront of the fight against doping. It will be populated with scientists at the top of their field during the Games who will carry out an exhaustive testing process.”
David Cowan, Director of King’s College London’s Drug Control Centre said the laboratories are the most high-tech labs in the history of the Games.
“We have developed, with GSK support, super-fast and super-sensitive technologies to be able to detect use of prohibited substances,” Cowan said. “Our role is to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the lab to deliver robust anti-doping testing for the Games.”
The Anti-Doping process during the London 2012 Games will create a legacy of knowledge about operations and processes. In July 2011, GSK signed an agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to share information about its medicines in development, while LOCOG will debrief on all processes.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games will attract nearly 4,200 athletes from 160 countries.