April 23 - The London 2012 anti-doping laboratory, where up to 6,250 samples will be tested during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been granted accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) following a series of rigorous tests to establish its analysis credentials.
The WADA accreditation process, which spanned a two-year period, is the final seal of approval for the laboratory, which is provided by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and operated by King's College London.
"Achieving WADA accreditation means that the London 2012 anti-doping laboratory will operate to the highest standards of sample analysis during the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said WADA President John Fahey.
"Doping athletes must know that there is a very good chance they will be tested this summer and that everything scientifically possible – and with the assistance of growing intelligence – will be done to make sure that their efforts to cheat are detected by the experts at the laboratory."
Up to 400 samples will be analysed each day during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is more than at any other Games.
Around 50 per cent athletes will be tested at the Olympic Games, including every medallist, while the shortest test turnaround time will be 24 hours.
The laboratory, which measures the size of seven tennis courts, will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"The WADA accreditation is a green light signal that the lab is ready," said London 2012 head of anti-doping Jonathan Harris.
"The successful partnership between London 2012, GSK and King's has enabled us to present to WADA a brilliant laboratory for King's to operate at Games time."
The accreditation process was based on two international standards – ISO/IEC 17025, and the International Standard for Laboratories.
It involved several site visits from WADA's Science Department and the ISO/IEC accrediting body with assessments focussed on the facility, equipment, procedures and staffing during three formal inspections and dummy sample testing.
More than 1,000 London 2012 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 (pictured right with Britain's Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson) who is head of King's College London's Drug Control Centre
"I am thrilled to receive official accreditation from WADA at such an early stage," said Cowan.
"We have demonstrated that everything is in place and we are well prepared to deliver robust testing for the Games.
"This accreditation provides recognition of our ability to operate an effective anti-doping laboratory."
The anti-doping programmes driven by London 2012 during the Games will also create a legacy of knowledge about anti-doping operations and processes.