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Archive for  March 2016

Thursday 31, Mar 2016

Chinese Swimmers ‘Warned’ For Clenbuterol Use

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A “warning penalty” will be issued to swimmers Wang Lizhuo and An Jiabao after both tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol, according to an announcement by the Chinese Swimming Association.

Clenbuterol is a performance enhancing drug, which is usually used by athletes and non-athletes during cutting cycles, and the substance is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list.

The CSA, in a terse statement posted online, said it would also issue warning and finding An’s Tianjin club and Wang’s Chinese Navy team besides issuing fines on their coaches. The CSA said the coaches will each face fines equivalent to the cost of five stimulant detection tests, amounting to 5,000 Yuan ($767.94).  The Chinese Swimming Association also said the unit overseeing athletes for the Tianjin Swimming Association and the Navy’s Swimming and Diving team will each get a warning and a penalty equivalent to the cost of 10 doping tests. Decision of the CSA was in accordance with the anti-doping rules of FINA, the world governing body of swimming, and doping management regulations.

In a statement, FINA said it was bound to confidentiality by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code but added it would establish whether any allegations require further investigation. A statement by FINA reads there are a small number of cases of failed doping controls by Chinese swimmers currently being investigated under the jurisdiction of CHINADA, the WADA-recognized Chinese Anti-Doping Agency. The statement further reads FINA and WADA are both fully aware of these cases, but we are bound by confidentiality until the moment an athlete is actually banned.

Reacting to the allegations, WADA Spokesman Ben Nichols said these are very serious allegations concerning Chinese swimming that warrant further examination. Nichols added WADA is now fully scrutinizing the information that The Times newspaper has passed on to us so that we can determine exactly what the appropriate steps are and so that we can address this matter head on.

The identities of An and Wang were revealed after the Chinese Swimming Association last week announced that six swimmers had failed doping tests during the 2015-16 season. The CSA identified the third swimmer as Chinese Navy’s Zhao Ying. The swimmer also tested positive for Clenbuterol in an out-of-competition test but has not yet been punished.

A few days back, the use of doping stimulants in Chinese swimming caught worldwide attention after it was announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency that it was presently investigating claims that Chinese sports authorities were suppressing five positive tests for “avoiding a storm”.

The Chinese anti-doping agency (CHINADA) denied claims published by The Times newspaper that it was “covering up” the tests. CHINADA argued that it was following the protocols by protecting the identities of the swimmers while test procedures and hearings were still underway.

The Chinese Swimming Association also announced that three other unnamed Chinese swimmers tested positive for the prohibited diuretic hydrochlorothiazide in out-of-competition tests in January. Zhao Jian, the deputy director of the Chinese anti-doping agency (CHINADA), remarked last week that CHINDA would soon release results and punishments within 20 days after the relevant association makes its respective punishments.

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Tuesday 29, Mar 2016

Doping Under Tough Control In Russian Football, Says Deputy PM

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has remarked doping cases in Russian football are given the most serious and toughest control.

Dvorkovich said doping abuse can happen in any form of sport and it is another matter that we try in football to put it under maximum tough control. The Deputy PM also said al the professional clubs take it seriously and everybody, both doctors and coaches, know what can be done and what must not. Dvorkovich also commented that he believes we will not face any serious cases like these and we will deal with the situation further on.

A new wave of doping cases in Russian sports has been connected with the use of the recently-banned drug, Meldonium. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which banned the drug on January 1 this year, had disclosed previously that 123 athletes had tested positive for Meldonium and the names of at least 22 Russian athletes suspected for use of Meldonium have been made public, among them tennis player Maria Sharapova, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, and swimmer Yulia Efimova.

Meldonium was put by WADA on the list of banned substances on 16 September 2015 effective starting 1 January 2016. Meldonium (Mildronate) is used by amateur and professional athletes to increase resistance to physical strain and high strenuous activity during training sessions. The substance also has the potential of easing nervous, emotional, and psychological stresses at competitions. Mildronate is widely used in the Post-Soviet space to prevent heart diseases. Meldonium was referred by WADA as a prohibited drug and is classified to S4 class in the WADA list (hormones and metabolism modulators).

In another development, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has commented that allegations of systematic doping abuse among Russian swimmers that were reported by British media could be considered as “false accusations.”

The Times reported investigations “uncovered an alarming picture of systematic drug use” over the past decade in Russian swimming. Commenting on the allegations, Mutko said all statements must be made on behalf of the International Swimming Federation. The sports minister of Russia went on to say that The Times is not a regulating sports body and only states its own opinion and added today we may encounter the case of false accusations in regard to Russian swimming.

The world governing body of swimming late on Wednesday said it had no data on the allegedly systematic violations of anti-doping regulations by Russian swimmers. In a statement, FINA said any new allegations of doping in our sport, which are substantiated by evidence and which have not already been addressed, will be investigated as a matter of utmost urgency, because we have absolutely zero tolerance for the use of performance-enhancing substances in swimming.

The International Swimming Federation added it should however be noted that while FINA is not aware of any concrete evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming, it has taken a particularly robust approach to our anti-doping procedures in relation to Russia and Russian competitions, in light of the recent investigation by WADA.

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Sunday 27, Mar 2016

Doping Leakers Should Be Prosecuted, Says Russian Sports Minister

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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked he plans to make it illegal for sports officials to publicly report in the event of an athlete failing a drugs test.

Mutko said “noise and uproar” happen when names are leaked to the public and violates the presumption of innocence. The sports minister added we are now going to administratively and criminally forbid the leaking of names before the B sample is released. Russian sports federations were accused by Mutko of routinely leaking drug test results to media outlets before “B” samples are tested. The Russian minister everyone has already forgotten that an athlete was justified if his or her name is leaked and later cleared.

A few days back, Vitaly Mutko said he is ready to resign if asked to do so over Russia’s series of doping scandals but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Mutko would remain in his post. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mutko will continue to work as the sports minister and added let us not forget that the president ordered an in-depth investigation into the Meldonium scandal. Peskov also said we in this case need to reconstruct events to avoid this in the future.

In neighboring Georgia, there have been six failed doping tests for the same drug in the nation’s wrestling team, including Olympic silver medalist Davit Modzmanashvili who is facing a possible life ban for a second career offence.

Earlier this month, former World no. 1 tennis star Maria Sharapova announced that she had failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The Russian tennis star admitted she had tested positive for Meldonium that has only been banned by WADA since the beginning of 2016. Later, it turned out many other Russian athletes had not picked up on the fact that the substance had recently been banned, including short-track athlete Pavel Kulizhnikov and figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, both Sochi Olympic champions.

Recently, the head of the Russian wrestling federation recently said Russian national team wrestlers Sergei Semyonov and Evgeny Saleyev had tested positive for the recently banned endurance-boosting drug Meldonium. Mikhail Mamiashvili said there were “several tens” of doping cases in Russia in speedskating, figure skating, swimming, and other sports. Russia won seven gold medals at this month’s European championships and finished at the top of the medals table in wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics.

In another development, Russian NBA stars Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun, and Sergey Karasev remarked the recent doping scandals involving Russian athletes have dealt a big blow to sports in the country. The basketball players said they are however hopeful that the national athletics team of Russia will be allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics this summer. Timofey Mozgov of the Cleveland Cavaliers said the Russian doping scandals should “be a good lesson for everybody.”

Sasha Kaun said it is just hard to see so many athletes get banned from their sports. Kaun added he is sure a majority of those athletes are not at fault and it is the doctors that don’t follow the rules and regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Friday 25, Mar 2016

CAS Imposes New Doping Bans For Russian Athletes

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected the selective doping punishments imposed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in six cases.

The CAS ruled that RUSADA was wrong in imposing bans that were timed in such a way that the results of the six athletes were not annulled and they were allowed to keep major titles. The CAS ruled the IAAF challenged what it felt was a “selective” disqualification of results, submitting that all results achieved by the athletes from the date of their first abnormal sample to the date they accepted a provisional suspension should be disqualified.

The verdict by CAS means Russian race walker Sergey Kirdyapkin would now lose his Olympic gold medal in the 50km walk. The medal would now go to Australia’s Jared Tallent and this will be subjected to ratification by track and field’s governing body and the International Olympic Committee. Tallent, after the verdict announced, on Twitter that history has been rewritten and he is now the Olympic Champion. Si Tianfeng of China would move up to silver and Ireland’s Rob Heffernan would now get the bronze medal.

Reacting to the verdict, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said a procedure of returning prize money by athletes who were found guilty of doping should be fixed legally. Mutko said he would summon athletes and ask them to return the money even though the return of prize money is usually voluntary. The sports minister said the CAS verdict will create a new legal precedent that may affect all international athletes.

In an interview, Mutko said the CAS in Lausanne created a new legal precedent and added the matter is that all issues concerning biological passports are very complicated. The Russian Sports Minister said an athlete is monitored for two years and during this period the so-called peaks are registered and they should not exceed the permitted levels and also remarked an athlete used to be responsible for each given peak. Mutko added decision of the CAS makes athletes more vulnerable.

The CAS recently upheld an appeal from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) against six Russian athletes and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). The six Russians in the case are titled field and trackers Sergey Kirdyapkin, Sergey Bakulin, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Vladimir Kanaikin, and Yulia Zaripova. It was ruled by the CAS that the results of Kirdkyapkin from 20 August 2009 to 15 October 2012 were now disqualified and that covers the London Olympics. Olga Kaniskina stands to lose her silver medal in the 20km walk from the London Olympics and China’s Qiejang Shenjie would move up to silver.

Yulia Zaripova would lose gold medal in the 3,000m steeplechase from the 2011 world championships in Daegu and Sergei Bakulin in the 50km walk would lose his gold medal. The gold of Zaripova’s gold would go to Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi and Bakulin’s medal would now go to fellow Russian Denis Nizhegorodov. The Court of Arbitration for Sport also imposed disqualification on walkers Valery Borchin and Vladimir Kanaikin.

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Wednesday 23, Mar 2016

Russian Wrestlers Could Miss Rio Olympics

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The wrestling team of Russia may not compete at the Rio Olympics this year after it recorded “tens” of positive doping results, according to an announcement by the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation (WFR).

WFR President Mikhail Mamiashvili remarked multiple positive doping tests by Russian wrestlers were uncovered by an internal investigation. The head of the Russian Wrestling Federation said there are tens of positive tests in the team and everyone is in a bad condition psychologically. Mamiashvili also commented that wrestlers of the country could now possibly join track-and-field athletes of Russia in being barred from competing at the Olympics in August.

Mamiashvili said 2015 World Cup silver medalist Sergei Semenov and 2014 world championship silver medalist Evgeny Saleev had been caught using Meldonium. The drug, which is used for treating low magnesium levels and diabetes, was banned on January 1 this year by the World Anti-Doping Agency after it was linked to enhanced sporting performance. Russia’s four-time world swimming champion Yulia Efimova announced on Monday that her doping samples had tested positive for Meldonium. Efimova added she was not notified by anyone of the inclusion of Meldonium into the WADA’s list of substances prohibited from January 1, 2016. The Russian athlete, who is the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, has already been once under suspension for doping abuse. She received a ban of 16 months in 2014 after testing positive for a DHEA, a banned substance.

R-Sport news agency recently disclosed around 40 athletes from Russia from more than 10 different sports had tested positive for the drug in the first two months of this year.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko recently said he was ready to tender his resignation if asked to do so. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Mutko would remain as the sports minister despite the scandal.

The disclosure came a few hours after four athletes from Russia were exposed as having tested positive for Meldonium, the recently-banned drug. This development further damaged the efforts of Moscow to overturn a suspension in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics starting on August 5. Russia athletes were suspended from competing after the Russian Athletics Federation received suspension from the world governing body of athletics after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report exposed corruption and endemic cheating in Russian athletics.

Since then, at least 18 Russian male and female sports professionals have tested positive for Meldonium despite a notification released by WADA in October.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) tried to clean its hands by saying all national sports federations were timely informed about the inclusion of Meldonium (Mildronate) in the WADA list of substances prohibited for use by athletes. Alexander Kravtsov, the head of the Russian national teams’ Training Center, remarked the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had officially and timely notified doctors of all sports federations that Meldonium would be on the list of banned substances starting January 1. Kravtsov added the doctors, considering their official status, had to pass on this information to their teams.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Russian Wrestlers Could Miss Rio Olympics

Monday 21, Mar 2016

First Meldonium Track And Field Case Exposed In Russian Athletics

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Nadezhda Kotlyarova, the 2013 European Championship silver-medalist, has tested positive for Meldonium. The 26-year-old Russian track-and-field athlete is the first athlete to test positive for the recently-banned drug and her positive test heaped further pressure on the athletic federation of Russia as it fights hard to get readmitted to international competition in time for the Olympic Games.

Kotlyarova said she failed a drug test at last month’s Russian indoor championships in Moscow. The athlete raced at World Championships last year in Beijing and reached the semi-finals. Kotlyarova was also part of the Russian relay team which won silver in the 4x400m at the 2013 European indoor championships.

The case of Kotlyarova for Meldonium is the first for a Russian track and field athlete and the third worldwide after former world 1,500m champion Abeba Aregawi of Sweden and the former European indoor 800m champion Nataliya Lupu of Ukraine tested positive for the substance.

The athlete remarked the concentration of the substance which was found is very small – 25 nanograms and she stopped taking this stuff long before it was banned. Kotlyarova added she considers herself innocent and said we are victims of circumstance. Commenting on the timing of her test result, Kotlyarova said it is a real shame as this is an Olympic year, and this is how they knock people off their tracks.

At least 100 athletes from multiple countries have tested positive for Meldonium ever since former world tennis number one Sharapova admitted using the drug. Meldonium is prescribed for treating health complications such as diabetes and low magnesium and its use is associated with increased sporting performance. The drug is particularly common in Russia and the former Soviet Union and was invented in Latvia and was used to help Soviet soldiers in the 1980s to fight at high altitude.

The anti-ischemic drug developed at the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis was designed to inhibit carnitine biosynthesis for preventing the accumulation of cytotoxic intermediate products of fatty acid beta-oxidation in ischemic tissues and for blocking this highly oxygen-consuming process. Use of this drug is believed to increase the formation of the gamma-butyrobetaine esters. This drug is used for treating brain circulation disorders by neurological clinics and has the ability to improve mood of patients and make them more active.

The Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) has claimed it repeatedly warned coaches and athletes not to take Meldonium before the drug got banned but the trainer of Kotlyarova remarked he was not given all the necessary information. Coach Sergei Vorobyev said no one told us how long this drug remains in the body.

Thirteen Russian sportsmen and women have tested positive for Meldonium since it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on January 1, 2016, including speed skating Olympic gold-medalist Semion Elistratov and world tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Last week, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Meldonium had nothing to do with athletics in his country despite warnings issued by sports officials that a number of other Russian competitors could have taken the substance.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: First Meldonium Track And Field Case Exposed In Russian Athletics

Saturday 19, Mar 2016

Germany To Introduce Second Fund For Doping Victims

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The German government has given its consent for the creation of a second fund for paying compensation to athletes from the former East Germany who suffered health damages because of a secretive state-supported doping program.

The use of performance enhancing drugs until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 assisted East Germany to win hundreds of medals at the Winter and the Summer Olympic Games amid fierce Cold War competition with West Germany. It is widely believed that as many as 8000-9000 athletes were on the secretive state-supported doping program from 1972-1989 and an overwhelming majority had no knowledge.

The embrace of doping by the former East Germany triggered a dramatic improvement in results with the nation doubling its gold medal tally from one Olympics to the next. Despite a boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, East Germany won 384 medals in the Olympic Games from 1972 to 1988 and was second in the medals table in three of the four Games in which it took part.

In the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, East Germany triumphed with an impressive 40 gold medals. The performance of German swimming team was described by U.S. swimmer Wendy Boglioli as staggering. Boglioli remarked at that time they were very strong women, they were very fast and added we thought they were machines. The swimmer had remarked here we were, four of America’s best athletes ever put together on a team, and every single day the East German women were winning every, every event while referring to the East Germany’s swim team alone won 11 of 13 swim events, an unprecedented feat.

It was later revealed that East Germany’s elite sports federation that was headed by Manfred Ewald and monitored by the Ministry of State Security (known as Stasi) used a deceptive master plan for attaining international prestige through success in sports. Girls as young as 12 years were recruited from across the country and were regularly administered with untested steroids and male hormones as part of their training.

Many of the former athletes are now seriously ill and suffer from severe health complications such as circulation and spinal problems, tumors, heart defects, infertility, depression, and bulimia while many of them have died and others are left with no option but to see what health problems their children have inherited.

The German government remarked on Wednesday it had approved the drafting of a law for a one-off payment of 10,500 euros ($11,500) per eligible doping victim. The government added it expected many times more cases than the 194 beneficiaries of the first scheme in 2002. The German government paid out a similar amount to 194 athletes in 2002 but many athletes did not came forward, with many witnessing the effects of doping on their health only much later.

In a statement, German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere said today we take a step closer to our target of a renewal of the fund for GDR (East German) doping victims. Maiziere added given the difficult fate and bad health of many of the GDR doping victims speed is of essence.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Germany To Introduce Second Fund For Doping Victims

Thursday 17, Mar 2016

Doping Scandal Involving Russian Athletes Should Not Be Politicized, Says Putin

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Russia should react promptly to the recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency rather than politicizing the doping scandal involving athletes of the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked.

Putin told Russian government members at a meeting that it is not necessary to politicize anything or advance any conspiracy theory. The Russian President said we need a systemic and timely reaction to the decisions made, including those passed at the level of international organizations. Putin added it is clear that our sports officials failed to realize the importance of these questions.

Putin also commented that it is obvious that our anti-doping legislation needs serious improvement if we experience such failures. The President of Russia also remarked he is asking the government to work on this and other issues to raise the effectiveness of the national fight against doping. He also remarked we should not put forward any conspiracy theories — we should not put forward any conspiracy theories — we should systematically and in a timely manner react to the decisions that are being made, including on the level of international organizations.

Putin, who has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012, said the Russian side should have specific measures and get in touch with international organizations if it did not know anything about the possible effects of Meldonium use, of which Russian athletes are being accused. The Russian head of the state also remarked they ought to have discussed everything in advance instead of acting in hindsight, if a popular phrase is to be used, and talking profusely of what was right and what was wrong.

Dubbed the World’s Most Powerful Person by Forbes for three years in a row from 2013-2015, Putin said Russia is a disciplined member of the international athletic community and is highly reputable in it and no one has doubts about that. Putin also said we rightly take pride in the achievements of our athletes and no scandal can call in question their results and that is absolutely clear. Putin, who previously served as an officer in the KGBA, said an overwhelming majority of our athletes observe the code of conduct and have nothing to do with prohibited formulas and every measure must be taken to prevent their sports careers from being harmed by these scandals.

Putin blamed sports leadership of the country for the doping scandal. Putin remarked our sports leadership demonstrated lack of understanding of relevance of these issues, did not update on time the relevant lists that were presented by corresponding international structures, did not update our stop-lists, did not inform on time athletes and coaches about the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban several substances.

Many prominent Russian athletes, including the tennis star Maria Sharapova and Semion Elistratov, an Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, have recently tested positive for Meldonium. Produced in Latvia (a former Soviet state), the drug is commonly used across Eastern Europe for improving oxygen intake of the heart and blood flow. Meldonium was banned on January 1 this year by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Tuesday 15, Mar 2016

Belgian Cyclist Not To Defend Motorized Doping Charges

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Belgian cyclist Femke Van Den Driessche has decided to quit cycling and not defend herself at a disciplinary hearing this week. The 19-year-old was accused of making use of a concealed motor in her bike during the under-23 Cyclo-cross world championships in January in Belgium.

Femke becomes the first rider caught concealing a motor in her racing bike and this incident happened at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. The Belgian Cycling Federation confirmed the detained bike belonged to European and Belgium’s U23 champion Van den Driessche, who is sponsored by Wilier and races for the trade team Team Kleur op Maat.

A day after the bike was confiscated, UCI President Brian Cookson confirmed in a press conference that the bike in question did had a motor concealed inside its tubing that goes directly against the UCI regulations surrounding technological fraud article 12.1.013.

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) President Gianni Bugno reacting to the incident said the problem is far from the pro road peloton. Bugno remarked it is out of discussion that whoever is cheating during competition must be heavily punished and also said the riders are all in favor of this and they are the first ones to show interest to unmask those who act unfairly, whether they are riders, mechanicals, or other team members. Bugno supported the efforts of the UCI and promised to extend full cooperation from the riders. The CPA chief said we are convinced that the sport’s governing body is doing its best to improve and refine the controls and we hope there will be a progress, with the cooperation of manufacturers, in order to remove any doubt about performances of athletes.

Femke’s brother Niels is currently serving a suspension for doping. Femke’s father, Peter, and brother, Niels, are presently criminal charges and have been charged with attempt to steal two expensive parakeets from the pet store De Gouldamandine in Varsenare. If found guilty, the father-son duo would likely receive prison sentences of between 1-5 years and a fine of up to €3,000.

In a statement, Femke said the cost of defending herself before the UCI, the world’s governing body of cycling, would be too expensive for her. She added “acquittal would be impossible” and also remarked she has decided to quit cyclo-cross. She however maintained the bike belonged to a friend and her support team mistakenly took it to the pits. Nico Van Muylder, a former racer, has already claimed ownership of the bike.

Femke Van Den Driessche said she had decided to discontinue her defense, after consulting with her lawyers and family, at the hearing in Aigle. The Belgian cyclist also said she had decided for herself to stop cyclo-cross and remarked the public had already decided her case anyhow. Driessche added an acquittal would be impossible as the bike was in her pit zone and also said the costs of the meeting in Switzerland will be too high for her.

Van den Driessche may have faced a ban of at least six months and a fine of 20,000 Swiss Francs. However, many in the cycling fraternity called for a more severe punishment and some even went to suggest that a lifetime ban would be the best punishment to make an example of her for others.

 

 

 

Sunday 13, Mar 2016

Sharapova Should Face Suspension For Doping, Says Andy Murray

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Tennis world number two Andy Murray has remarked Maria Sharapova should face suspension after she tested positive for a banned drug to send a strong message to would be drugs cheats.

Murray applauded doping officials for catching one of the most high-profile stars of tennis. Murray said at the Indian Wells tournament in California that the positive thing about what has happened to Maria is she is one of the biggest female athletes on the planet. He added you should be suspended if you take performance enhancing drugs and you fail a drug test.

Murray went on to criticize Maria Sharapova, the tennis federation, and his racquet sponsor Head who also sponsors Sharapova.  Murray criticized the racquet sponsor for announcing it would look to extend her contract. The Head sports equipment company remarked it was “proud to stand behind’’ Maria Sharapova. A statement from Head said we, now and into the future, look forward to working with her and announcing new sponsorships in the weeks and months ahead. The statement further reads that Maria has earned the benefit of the doubt and we are extending it to her and it was further said that we know that for more than a decade Maria has been a role model and a woman of great integrity.

The statement was termed by Murray as premature who said he personally would not have responded like that. Murray said he thinks it is a strange stance given everything that is happened the last few days and added he thinks at this stage it is important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in his view.

The Scottish professional tennis player said doping is happening on a regular basis in sports and he would not say it was shocking. Murray remarked he read that 55 athletes have failed that test since January 1 and added you do not expect high level athletes in all those sports to have heart conditions. Murray also said the high number of athletes testing positive for Meldonium since start of this year demonstrated that many athletes were getting phoney prescriptions for legal performance enhancing drugs.

Murray, who has been ranked as British No. 1 since 27 February 2006, said if you take a prescription drugs that you don’t need but just because it is legal is wrong and you are just doing it for the performance-enhancing benefits.

On Tuesday, the former world number one announced she failed a drug test for Meldonium that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list this year. Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, will not contest her guilt at the upcoming hearing of the tennis anti-doping committee. It was indicated by her lawyer that they will press for a ban much shorter than a four-year maximum period. The legal team of Maria will argue that she had been used Meldonium over 10 years for medical reasons before it was added to the WADA banned list on January 1. The legal team will pursue a “no significant fault’’ contingency in the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

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