(ATR) A state of the art drug testing lab will be ready to go in Paris, one year ahead of the 2024 Olympics.
AFLD, the French Anti Doping Agency, has won the government support needed to move ahead with construction of a new laboratory.
AFLD has been working for several months on a project to relocate its anti-doping laboratory to prepare for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The agency says the new facility is needed to “strengthen its detection capabilities and develop its research activities and innovation”.
Paris-Sud University's proposal for a site on its Orsay campus was chosen by the agency.
“AFLD and its laboratory team are particularly pleased. France is thus demonstrating its commitment to pursuing a policy of excellence in the fight against doping, serving the ethics of sport,” says the agency statement.
AFLD says that locating the lab on a prestigious university with leading research teams and technology in the field of analytical chemistry “opens up very promising prospects for scientific collaboration”.
Pre-construction and relocation studies will be initiated “very quickly” by AFLD and Université Paris-Sud, so that the new laboratory is operational for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. That would allow the lab to be fully tested in time for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games .
The new lab will replace the 30 year-old facility in the Paris suburb of Châtenay-Malabry. The lab was suspended for failing technical standards in 2016, but has since been recertified by the World Anti Doping Agency.
The government will spend 10 million euros on the project. Construction is to start in 2020.
Sprinter Leads French Sports Directorate
France wants medal record for Paris 2024 (CNOSF)
The former sprinter Gilles Quénéhervé is named head of the Sports Directorate, a key position in the French Ministry of Sports.
The medals-winner at world champs and the Olympics 30 years ago, Quénéhervé has risen through the ranks of the civil service.
He takes the post as French sports authorities try to assemble a a plan to win the most medals, including gold.
"We have a potential to win around 40. If we progress and reach 60, we can have maybe 20 gold medals," opined French National Olympic and Sports Committee President Denis Masseglia.
He spoke to reporters Wednesday before going into a meeting with leaders of Olympic federations.
The best finish for France at an Olympic Games is 15 gold medals at Atlanta 1996.
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.
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