Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar (ADLQ), yet another addition to the country’s world-class sport facilities and the only one of its kind in the Middle East, was inaugurated yesterday by HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
He was joined on stage by Qatari sporting icons Nasser al-Attiyah and Mutaz Essa Barshim at a ceremony attended by Gabonese Republic’s President Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba and a number of other dignitaries.
Minister of State for Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Minister of State HE Sheikh Hamad bin Suhaim al-Thani, and Qatar Olympic Committee secretary general HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani were present.
ADLQ, housed in a purpose-built three-storey building in Aspire Zone across Aspetar, is a state-of-the-art facility to provide anti-doping testing for athletes across the
Gulf region as well as West Asia.
Doping control tests will be administered during competition, training and even in the off-season to catch cheats and protect athletes.
Equipped with the most modern technology and a team of specialists from across the world, ADLQ will provide testing for all known forms of doping including testosterone, amphetamines, blood doping (reinfusion), anabolic steroids, EPO, HGH, beta blockers and even the newest form of doping - genetic doping (modifying genes to enhance performance).
Sheikh Saoud al-Thani stated that ADLQ will carve a place for Qatar internationally, become a minaret of excellence and ensure honest and fair competition among athletes.
World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) science director Dr Olivier Robin, who described ADLQ as a significant achievement, recalled that Qatar approached the agency in 2007 with a proposal to set up the lab.
“Qatar has considered all requirements and scientific needs. ADLQ is the latest member in a small family of labs across the world and the building is one of the most impressive housing an anti doping lab,” he said.
ADLQ board of directors chairman Dr Mohamed Ghanem A al-Maadeed recalled the initial discussion he had with HH Sheikh Tamim nine years ago with the latter mandating him in 2008 to set up the facility.
“ADLQ has lived up to the pledge it made to Wada. General manager Dr Mohamed al-Sayrafi and his team are well-trained,” Dr al-Maadeed said while adding that ADLQ also received support from ADL Barcelona.
The ground floor of ADLQ building hosts the administration staff and the management team. The first floor is dedicated to anti-doping testing only, the core business of ADLQ.
The second floor, which is available for anti-doping research and open to researchers from similar fields, will also house the toxicology lab, and a multi-purpose analytical lab to complement the clinical laboratories in Qatar.
ADLQ will also strive to make drug education part of health education, lay down norms regulating the use of technology in sport and provide accurate and current information to athletes to help them think critically and make the wise choice of avoiding doping in any form.
ADLQ is seeking compliance with ISO/IEC17025 accreditation. The target is to achieve Wada accreditation by the end of 2014, joining an elite group of only 33 labs that have won the endorsement so far.