Drug testing centre of excellence
A FORENSIC laboratory in Suffolk is set to become one of the foremost sports drug testing companies in the world.The Horseracing Forensics Laboratory Ltd in Newmarket has already cornered the market in doping tests in horseracing and greyhound racing, and is now working towards accreditation from the International Olympic Committee(IOC) and recognition from the World Anti Doping Agency.
A FORENSIC laboratory in Suffolk is set to become one of the foremost sports drug testing companies in the world.
The Horseracing Forensics Laboratory Ltd in Newmarket has already cornered the market in doping tests in horseracing and greyhound racing, and is now working towards accreditation from the International Olympic Committee(IOC) and recognition from the World Anti Doping Agency.
This accreditation would put the company in the unique position of being qualified to test both animals and athletes, along with premiership footballers and international rugby players.
Managing director David Hall said: "We started working towards accreditation from the IOC several years ago under the guidance of UK Sport, the Government agency responsible for doping tests in sport, but the process took so long and would have taken business away from King's College London, which deals with athletics and sports testing.
"We have a good relationship with King's and it would have been unhealthy competition for both of us, but last year UK Sport announced that funding for doping would be doubled, so we started the process again."
He added: "This will be a great boost for the company and will set us up as a centre of excellence to cover the whole range of doping activity."
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Mr Hall said he expects the process, whereby the company's own standards are examined, to be complete by the end of summer and for testing to begin in the autumn.
The company, which was formed around 40 years ago, already deals with 23,000 blood and urine samples annually and is the sole UK tester of horses and dogs involved in sport.
It is unlikely that the amount of doping tests carried out will double in line with funding, said Mr Hall, but the increased funding should herald a significant increase in testing activity.
Dope testing has received intense media scrutiny recently as Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand this week lost his bid to have an eight month ban lifted after he failed to turn up a routine dope test, and tennis star Greg Rusedski was cleared of using a banned substance.