By David Gold

David Cowan_march_16March 18 - Professor David Cowan (pictured), the man in control of the anti-doping laboratory for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has told insidethegames that athletes have a 50-50 chance of being drugs tested this summer.

The World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory at Harlow, provided by GlaxoSmithKline, will be operated by King's College London, and will analyse around 6,000 samples during the Games.

Averaging at 400 a day, this will be more than at any previous Olympics.

Around 160 staff will be on site to ensure the smooth running of the operation.

Cowan emphasised that the key to a clean Games is deterrence and getting the message known that there could be as much as a one in two chance of athletes being tested during the Olympics.

He told insidethegames: "It's going to be clean if you guys can help get that deterrent out there.

"The likelihood of an athlete being sampled could be as much as a 50 per cent chance which is a higher ratio than ever before.

Anti doping_lab_March_16
"When it is a low proportion people will take a risk."

Cowan cited the case of Maria Isabel Moreno, the Spanish cyclist who was the first to fail a drugs test during the Beijing 2008 Games for blood doping agent Erythropoieti (EPO), and said that the deterrent effect could help prevent similar cases happening during London 2012.

He added that the biggest challenge the anti-doping lab will face during the Games is turning around the results of the tests so quickly.

"The toughest thing is that [we] have to turn around results in 24 hours and lawyers can come back at you years later.

"For sport it's good that we get results back so quickly.

"It's an important part of the Olympic Games to keep them clean."

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