LONDON (AFP) – British sports minister Hugh Robertson warned drug cheats there would be no hiding place at the Olympics as the London games anti-doping centre was unveiled on Thursday.
A vast laboratory the size of seven tennis courts has been set up at Harlow, just outside London, and is preparing to analyse some 6,250 samples during the games, which get under way in July.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline provided the facility which will be run under the direction of Professor David Cowan of the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that there is no place to hide for drugs cheats at London 2012,” Robertson told a news conference.
“Our message to any athlete thinking about doping is simple – we will catch you. This lab 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.
“This is about the integrity of the London Games. We have a really powerful system to catch anyone who is contemplating cheating.”
Cowan said the state-of-the-art facility would offer “super-fast and super-sensitive” technologies capable of detecting banned substances.
“These laboratories are the most high-tech labs in the history of the Games, analysing more samples than ever before,” Cowan said.
“Our role is to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the lab to deliver robust anti-doping testing for the Games.”
Olympic officials said one in two athletes at the Olympics would be drug-tested, including ever medallist.
Some 150 anti-doping scientists would staff the centre, which will be operational 24/7 during the Games.