From Inside the Games

The first World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approved laboratory in East Africa is to open in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, a move hailed as a major development for the region’s drug crisis.

Blood analysis of Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) samples will be performed at the LANCET Group of Labs East Africa, following a project initiated and funded by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

The establishment of the WADA approved laboratory is claimed to be an “important step” for East Africa, an area viewed by the AIU of being particularly in need.

More than 3,500 blood samples were collected worldwide by the AIU in 2017 in the context of the ABP, the body have said.

The samples included more than 25 per cent in East Africa or from East African athletes.

The ABP programme has resulted in more than 100 international-level athletes being sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations so far.

It is claimed the samples from the region will no longer have to be transported to anti-doping laboratories in Europe or South Africa for analysis.

The AIU said this practice was expensive and posed serious logistical constraints with the samples needing to be analysed within required time frames.

“This laboratory is a major development towards the fight against doping in Africa for athletics and indeed for all sports,” said David Howman, chairman of the AIU.

“This is the first time since WADA’s inception that an International Federation has taken the initiative to establish a WADA-approved laboratory in an area of real need.

“It shows that the AIU is not accepting of the status quo, but is taking responsibility for the integrity of athletics and getting things done with a proactive and innovative approach.”

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