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Thursday 09, Jun 2016

  Maria Sharapova Suspended for Two Years

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In a report issued on Wednesday, the International Tennis Federation has announced five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has been suspended from competition for two years. This was after she failed a drug test at this year’s Australian Open for Meldonium (Mildronate), a drug used to increase blood flow.

Meldonium was banned on January 1, 2016 by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Maria Sharapova claimed she was taking the substance since 2006 and was not aware that the status of the drug had been changed. The ITF said while the violation of the rules by Sharapova was not intentional, but she is the sole author of her misfortune and bears sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible.

Sharapova said she will “immediately appeal” in a Facebook post. The Russian tennis star said she cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension and remarked the tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that she did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. The five-time Grand Slam champion added she will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In March, Sharapova was provisionally suspended after she announced at a Los Angeles press conference that she had failed a doping test for Meldonium in January. The tennis star however did not mention that she also failed an out-of-competition test for the same drug in February, which was highlighted by the ITF panel’s 33-page ruling.

The ruling says the manner of its use, on match days and when undertaking intensive training, is only consistent with an intention to boost her energy levels. The ITF panel also said it may be that she genuinely believed that Mildronate had some general beneficial effect on her health but the manner in which the medication was taken, its concealment from the anti-doping authorities, her failure to disclose it even to her own team, and the lack of any medical justification must inevitably lead to the conclusion that she took Mildronate for the purpose of enhancing her performance. It was further found by the panel that only her father and her manager, Max Eisenbud of IMG, knew she was taking the drug then.

The ITF panel also discovered that Maria Sharapova also did not note her use of Mildronate on any of the seven doping control forms she turned in from October 22, 2014, to January 26, 2016. The decision said she must have known that taking a medication before a match, particularly one not currently prescribed by a doctor, was of considerable significance and it was further added this was a deliberate decision, not a mistake. The ITF panel also ruled keeping her Meldonium use from her team and anti-doping authorities constituted a very serious breach of her duty to comply with the rules.

Meanwhile, Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev has remarked Ekaterina Makarova would take the spot of Maria Sharapova on the country’s Summer Games roster.

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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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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.

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Wednesday 09, Mar 2016

  Maria Sharapova Praised By Serena Williams

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Serena Williams has applauded her tennis rival Maria Sharapova for the way she disclosed news of her failed dope test.

Serena, the American professional tennis player who is ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis, said she was stunned by news that the Russian professional tennis player had tested positive for banned substance Meldonium at this year’s Australian Open. Williams, a long-time rival of Sharapova, said she thinks most people were surprised and shocked by Maria but at the same time most people were happy that she was just upfront and very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at. Williams said Maria Sharapova has always showed courage in everything that she has done and this is no different and described the announcement of Sharapova as brave.

Sharapova announced the news of her positive test at a press conference in Los Angeles. Sharapova claimed she had simply made a mistake by continuing to take Mildronate (an anti-ischemic drug), also known as Meldonium, without checking to see if it was banned. Sharapova told the media she had failed to read an email that state that Meldonium had been added to the banned list on January 1, 2016. The tennis star will be provisionally suspended from playing tennis on March 12 and faces the risk of a four-year ban. In January, Meldonium was added to the list of banned performance enhancing drugs.

After the announcement by Sharapova, German car manufacturer Porsche, sportswear giant Nike, and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer distanced themselves from sponsorship deals with her. It was announced by TAG Heuer that it would not renew its marketing contract that expired at the end of 2015 with the tennis star. In a statement, Porsche said we regret the news about Maria Sharapova. Until more details are known and we can analyze the situation, we have decided to suspend planned activities with her. In a statement, the unit of French luxury goods group LVMH said Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015 and added we had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract.

Nike and Porsche also suspended their sponsorship of the athlete. Nike said in a statement that we have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. The statement further reads that Nike was surprised and saddened by the news.

Meanwhile, the man who created Meldonium said putting the drug on WADA banned list is violation of human rights. Professor Ivar Kalvins said Meldonium is not a performance enhancing drug and added it just helps to protect the athlete’s heart from the consequences of physical overwork and that means it watches over health of athletes. Professor Kalvins added to ban this medicine means to ban athletes from taking care of their health and he considers it to be a kind of violation of human rights.

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