Integrity of London anti-doping process questioned after athletes`

Integrity of London anti-doping process questioned after athletes' samples found stored with Coke

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 13, 2012 11:50 hrs

Serious questions have been raised over the London 2012 anti-doping process after it emerged that van drivers stored their sandwiches and soft drinks in the same refrigerator as athletes' blood and urine samples.

One expert called the arrangements 'bizarre' and said that athletes would be angered to discover their samples were being treated so casually.

Astonishingly, however, the firm that transported the samples said no rules had been breached, the Daily Mail reports.

According to the pre-publicity, the 6,250 samples in sealed, bar-coded bottles packed in insulated boxes to keep them cool, were to be picked up from Olympic venues by couriers UPS for analysis at the GlaxoSmithKline laboratory in Harlow, Essex.

But the Daily Mail, alerted by a whistleblower, has uncovered a secure secret 'holding area' at a police facility about 20km from Harlow where the samples were stored.

Under a white awning, similar to an aircraft hangar, the UPS drivers delivered their square blue boxes of samples to a walk-in refrigerated unit about the same size as a shipping container.

The refrigerator was locked, but the whistleblower said the key-holder on each shift, a UPS employee, would allow drivers to walk in and out, not only to store their cargo, but also to place their packed lunches inside the cooled room.

The whistleblower said the samples tended to remain at the holding area for around two hours before being shipped on to Harlow, despite international drugs watchdog guidelines stating they should be transported to the lab 'as soon as practicable'.

After knowing about the report, LOCOG, however, said: "There are no issues with the integrity of the anti-doping programme, and no risk of contamination or damage to samples. The IOC and WADA are happy with the processes followed". (ANI)

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