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Tuesday 05, Sep 2017

  Meldonium Crisis Contributes To 26.4 Percent Increase In Doping Cases

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Annual report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revealed that 26.4 per cent increase in positive doping cases was recorded for 2016 in comparison with similar data for 2015, although this was partly because of the addition of Meldonium as a banned substance.

A total of 4,814 adverse analytical findings (AAFs) were recorded for 2016 in comparison with 3,809 for the previous year. The latter figure included 497 failures for Meldonium, which is a substance only prohibited from January 1, 2016.

A detailed testing report is likely to be published in the fourth quarter of this year.

Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and swimmer Yulia Efimova were among some of the top Russian and Eastern European stars who failed anti-doping tests for Meldonium. Sharapova and many others claimed they were not aware Meldonium was added to the list of banned substances. A big majority of these athletes have now made a return to competition after it was conceded by the World Anti-Doping Agency that “more research was required” to find out how long the substance remains in the human body. WADA was heavily criticized for the ways in which it first banned the substance and then moderated its attitude to the substance.

The World Anti-Doping Agency even made it a point not to directly respond to the criticism it received from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sporting bodies for the way it handled the Russian doping scandal. The response of WADA was justified in a joint opening message by its President Sir Craig Reedie and director general Olivier Niggli.

Reedie and Niggli wrote the Russian doping scandal was one of the most destabilizing incidents for sports in recent memory. They also wrote it has taxed the resources of many of our stakeholders; in particular, it was extremely demanding for the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Federations (IFs) many of which are still managing the fallout. It was further added that WADA has been shoulder to shoulder with our partners and also remarked we have been doing our utmost to support them with their results management and to help them determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue anti-doping rule violations for their athletes or support personnel.

     Sir Craig and Niggli concluded the World Anti-Doping Agency for 17 years has led the charge against doping in sport in an ever changing and complex environment. They added we are proud of the work that has been accomplished by the WADA team, with limited resources – always striving to meet and exceed the expectations set by our partners in the clean sport community. It was also added that we believe that we have been successful in our mission and also remarked that our goal is to ensure that the clean athlete prevails.

The WADA Annual report listed 10 priorities for the future that include the development of a stronger code compliance system, including “graded and proportionate” sanctions for non-compliant organizations. The priorities included generating more income and strengthening laboratories and the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) system and improved education and scientific research.

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Saturday 15, Oct 2016

  More State-Sponsored Doping Anticipated By WADA

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Recently-appointed World Anti-Doping Agency director general Olivier Niggli has remarked an expanding investigations staff will be on the lookout for state-sponsored cheating in other nations after Russia’s widespread anti-doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In an interview, Niggli remarked it has happened in one country and he believes it would be naive to think it is the only country. The director general of WADA said we have to have our eyes really open and also make sure we act on intelligence and information we might get.

State-directed manipulation of drug-testing results at the Moscow anti-doping lab from at least 2011 through the summer of 2013 was discovered through a report commissioned for WADA. More than 100 Russian athletes, including all but one member of the track and field team, were not allowed to participate in this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Niggli, a 46-year-old Swiss lawyer who replaced David Howman on July 1, remarked the World Anti-Doping Agency will have conversations with FIFA about testing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Niggli was hired as the legal director of WADA in 2002 and added the title of finance director two years later before he left for a law firm in 2011. Niggli made a return to WADA two years ago as chief operating officer.

Niggli added it is still sufficiently far away to hope that things will have changed and improved in Russia. The World Anti-Doping Agency director general also remarked it is very important that we be able to work with the Russians to try to set up a system that is called compliant and that will provide some safeguards so that everybody regains confidence in what is going on there.

Niggli also rejected a suggestion by Russian President Vladimir Putin that athletes with therapeutic use exemptions be excluded from major competitions. The WADA director general said he does not think it is meaningful and remarked he thinks every human being has a right of being treated for medical conditions.

Niggli praised Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NHL for their anti-doping programs that are subject to labor laws and negotiated with their unions. Niggli also said the World Anti-Doping Agency accepts decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to cut the suspension of Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova from two years to 15 months. Sharapova, a winner of all four Grand Slam tournaments, tested positive for the heart drug Meldonium, added to the banned list this year. Niggli however remarked it was slightly surprising that at that level she would not get warned properly by her entourage.

In another development, WADA has joined hands with Astellas Pharma Inc and announced a global agreement to partner on the prevention of misuse and abuse of medicines for doping in sports. Astellas will help WADA in identifying compounds solely developed by Astellas or its affiliates with the potential for sport-related doping abuse. It will also cooperate in sharing relevant information to aid WADA in the organization’s development of detection methods for these compounds.

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Wednesday 05, Oct 2016

  Doping Ban Of Maria Sharapova Reduced

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced doping ban on tennis player Maria Sharapova. The CAS announced the two-year ban on Sharapova has been reduced by nine months.

Sharapova remarked she had learned a lesson from the “tough months” behind her. In a message to fans on her Facebook page, Maria Sharapova said she feels in so many ways like something she loves was taken away from her and it will feel really good to have it back.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) handed the original ban – backdated to start on January 26, 2016 to Sharapova, a five-time major singles champion, following her positive test for the drug Meldonium. The 29-year-old Sharapova had termed the original ruling of the ITF as “unfairly harsh” as an independent tribunal had found that the tennis player had not intentionally violated anti-doping rules.

Sharapova did admit to making use of Meldonium during the season’s opening major in Melbourne but said she had been unaware that it had been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Sharapova went on to say that she started to believe the ITF tried to make an example of her by handing her a two-year ban after she tested positive for Meldonium.  The substance was added to the list of banned substances of WADA at the start of the year after mounting evidence that it has the ability to improve blood flow and enhance athletic performance.

Sharapova was backed up by her attorney John Haggerty who criticized the ITF for their failure to properly warn his client. Haggerty remarked Maria took responsibility for her mistake and the ITF handled this matter poorly from start to finish. The attorney of Sharapova added it is time for the International Tennis Federation to take responsibility for its mistakes and change its procedures so that this can never happen to another player. Haggerty added the ITF has a lot to learn based on this ruling.

In response, the ITF issued a statement in which it remarked it had taken appropriate action to inform players, including Sharapova, of changes to the banned list. The world governing body of tennis said it would continue to review the way it communicated with them. The ITF statement further reads it believes that the appropriate steps were taken to publicize any changes to the Prohibited List and added we have nonetheless reviewed, and will continue to review, our processes for communicating changes to the Prohibited List to players with the aim of ensuring that no player can claim that they had not been fully informed.

The CAS arbitration panel ruled she had committed an anti-doping rule violation for which “she bore some degree of fault”. The panel also remarked the decision to reduce the ban concerned solely on the degree of fault that can be imputed to the player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she had been taking over a long period remained in compliance with the anti-doping rules.

Maria Sharapova can now expect herself to be back in the court as early as the 2017 French Open, scheduled to begin on May 29.

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Tuesday 13, Sep 2016

  Sharapova Doping Ban Appeal’s Decision By CAS In Early October

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A decision on the appeal by former tennis world number 1 Maria Sharapova against a doping ban of two years will be issued in the first week of next month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said.

The 29-year-old was banned in June by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) following a positive test for the banned drug Meldonium during January’s Australian Open. The five-time grand slam winner was named in the official entry list of Russia for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided in July to defer its decision on her appeal against the ban.

Meldonium was added to the list of banned substances of the World Anti-doping Agency at the start of this year after evidence emerged that the drug can boost blood flow and enhance athletic performance. Made in Latvia and only distributed in Baltic countries and Russia, Meldonium is used to treat Ischaemia. The drug is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and is not authorized in the rest of Europe.

In January, Maria Sharapova disclosed she had used Meldonium for health issues after being given it by her family doctor. The tennis star said she did received an email on December 22 from WADA that was meant to remind her of alterations to the list of banned substances but added that she did not click on the link provided.

Sharapova had called the ruling of ITF as “unfairly harsh” as it was found by an independent tribunal that she had not intentionally violated anti-doping rules. The ITF however ruled that the use of Meldonium by Maria Sharapova is only consistent with an intention to boost her energy levels.

In a strongly-worded statement, the International Tennis Federation had remarked there was in 2016 no diagnosis and no therapeutic advice supporting the continuing use of Mildronate (Meldonium) whatever the position may have been in 2006. The ITF had also remarked she would have consulted a medical practitioner if she had believed that there was a continuing medical need to use Mildronate. The ITF statement 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.

Sharapova has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the WTA on five separate occasions and earned silver for Russia in women’s singles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She was named one of the “100 Greatest of All Time” by Tennis Channel in March 2012 and has been named highest paid female athlete in the world for 11 consecutive years by Forbes. The Russian professional tennis player is the only Russian to hold the career Grand Slam.

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Sunday 11, Sep 2016

  Yuliya Efimova Blasts Lilly King

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Russian swimmer Yuliya Efimova, who was booed by crowds at the Rio Olympics, has taken a parting shot at rival Lilly King on Saturday night. Yuliya insisted the American 19-year-old was immature and had turned the event into “a war.”

Efimova remarked the escalated bad blood between the American and Russian camps was a personal “nightmare” for her. Yuliya claimed the West was using sport to fight a new cold war. Efimova said he understands the people who didn’t congratulate her because the media was full of fake stories about her and added she on the other hand does not really understand the foreign competitors. Yuliya remarked all athletes should be above politics, but they just watch TV and believe everything they read.

King had repeatedly asserted that the Russian swimmer should not have been allowed to compete as she had previously been banned for doping. Yuliya, the four-time World Champion and a three-time Olympian, failed a drug test in 2013 and was suspended from competition for 16 months. Efimova, who won bronze at the London Games in 2012, was banned between October 2013 and February 2015 after testing positive for traces of the anabolic steroid DHEA. She was given a provisional ban earlier this year after testing positive for Meldonium, but the International Swimming Federation lifted the suspension after advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Her name also figured in a World Anti-Doping Agency report into Russian state-sponsored doping. The Russian swimmer was excluded from the Games until gaining a late reprieve. Yuliya was quietly reinstated and no explanation for the decision was provided by the International Swimming Federation or the International Olympic Committee.

Efimova has been living and training in Southern California for the past five years but may reconsider her decision with the reaction she received from the American swimming public. She was booed n several occasions during the schedule as she entered the pool deck. Efimova once shook her finger as she was loudly booed before and after her semifinal race at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Spectators were not happy with the IOC decision to let Efimova and her fellow Russian swimmers compete and the Russian swimming team, especially Yuliya was subjected to boos and jeers at the Aquatic Center.

Lilly did not hide her feelings about the disgraced Russian swimmer and said Yuliya is a drug cheat and should not be allowed to compete. The American swimmer said bringing Yuliya was decision of the IOC and she is going to respect that decision even though it is not something that she agrees with.

The US star defeated Yulia Efimova to win gold in the 100 meters breaststroke. The 19-year-old bagged the gold in one of the most anticipated swimming events of the tournament — by just under a second as she finished in 1 minute 4.93 seconds, more than a half-second ahead of Efimova. After her win, Lilly remarked her win just proves that you can compete clean and still come out on top with all the work you put in.

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Sunday 14, Aug 2016

  Drug Cheats Should Not Be Allowed To Compete At Olympics, Says Michael Phelps

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Olympic superstar Michael Phelps has remarked drug cheats should not be allowed back into sport.

The American competition swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time said it is sad that today in sports in general, not just only swimming, there are people who are testing positive who are allowed back in the sport and multiple times.

Phelps was speaking after it was made clear by young teammate Lilly King that she did not think Russian Yulia Efimova should be competing in the Rio Games. Lilly backed up her comments with a 100m breaststroke victory over world champion Efimova, who has served a steroid ban of 16 months but was allowed to swim in the Rio Olympics despite her testing positive this year for Meldonium, the drug which Maria Sharapova has been banned over.

King, a 19-year-old first-time Olympian, said she did not think Efimova belonged in the pool and many agreed as the 24-year-old world champion was showered with boos as she took the blocks. King won in an Olympic record of 1:04.93, with the Russian second in 1:05.50 and remarked she thinks it just proved that you can compete clean and still come out on top. King further remarked that people like US world champion sprinter Justin Gatlin should not be competing in Rio.

Phelps remarked he believes sport should be clean and sport should be on an even playing field, and he thinks that it is sad that in sports today we have people who are testing positive not only once but twice and still having the opportunity to swim at these Games. King spoke of her solidarity with the stance of Mack Horton of Australia and said she totally agrees with him.

Mack Horton of Australia recently taunted Chinese swimmer Sun Yang about his 2014 drugs ban, which drew a furious response from Chinese officials and media. The Chinese swimmer served a doping ban of three months after he tested positive for Trimetazidine, which Chinese officials said he had taken for years to treat an existing heart problem before the stimulant was added to World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in January 2014. French swimmer Camille Lacourt weighed into the debate and said Sun “pisses purple”.

Horton won over drug-tainted Chinese star Sun Yang in the men’s 400m freestyle final. Horton had named his rival a “drug cheat” a few days back in a clear reference to Sun’s three-month suspension over banned heart medication in 2014. The comments of Horton got the Chinese swimming team fuming and an apology is sought by Chinese officials. Horton stood by his comments and the Australia Olympic Committee and numerous athletes, both Australia and otherwise, have backed the Aussie gold medalist on his stance. Australia Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said there would be no apology from Horton or the Australian team. The Chef de Mission said Mack obviously has very strong views about the need for clean sport, as every single one of us does and added he has every right to express his views and his displeasure in that sense.

US Olympic medalist swimmer Katie Meili also supported the stance of Horton and said swimming is so special that she hopes the powers that be are working hard to keep the integrity of the sport.

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Monday 25, Jul 2016

  Russia Greets IOC Decision On Doping Allegations

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The decision of International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics was greeted with relief and jubilation from Russian sport administrators and athletes.

The IOC remarked the 28 federations that govern summer Olympic sports would review the records of Russian athletes and decide who can compete in Rio next month.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko remarked we are grateful to the IOC for allowing Russian athletes into the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Mutko however complained about decision of the committee to ban those Russian athletes who have tested positive for performance-enhancing substances even though we know dozens of athletes from well-known countries who will compete at Rio with just such a history. This would mean swimmer Yuliya Yefimova, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and tested positive for Meldonium this year, and the doping whistleblower, Yuliya Stepanova would now be ruled out and only the US-based long jumper Darya Klishina will likely be the only Russian track and field athlete in Rio.

Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, termed the IOC decision as a “compromise decision” made under “colossal pressure”. Zhukov added Russian athletes will now have to prove they are clean rather than enjoying the presumption of innocence.

Svetlana Khorkina, the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, cautioned athletes of Russia that more “traps will probably be laid” for them in Rio. Legendary Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin remarked the International Olympic Committee had made the most elegant decision amid the clamor, tendentiousness, unprecedented pressure, desire of some national Olympic committees to remove an obvious contender for Olympic medals from the race by any means.

Britain’s world and Olympic long jump champion, Greg Rutherford, joined the list of those who condemned the IOC decision. Rutherford remarked the decision was a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides and warned the International Olympic Committee had thrown away the opportunity to make a clear statement of intent against those who cheat. The Olympic long jump champion remarked we  know the pros and the cons of a blanket ban, we know the risks of ‘collective justice’, but we also know the risk of not punishing a culture of doping that comes from the very top and added he would say that the latter is a much greater threat to sport.

Rutherford said he believes the IOC has created an unseemly mess and commented we have certainly not been given a clear message of transparency and progress. Rutherford also said he would have almost been happier if the decision had been a bullish refusal to act in any way and remarked this is a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides. The British athlete also said it is a decision without the strength of conviction to sever friendships and take action, or indeed the confidence to recommend against any ban at all.

The ruling by IOC means Russian athletes can compete in Rio Olympics if they can prove to the full satisfaction of their international federation and the IOC and Court of Arbitration for Sport, that they are demonstrably clean.

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Wednesday 13, Jul 2016

  Sharapova’s Rio Olympics Ambitions Dashed

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Russian professional tennis player Maria Sharapova has been ruled out of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after a ruling on her appeal against a two-year doping ban was postponed until September.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport remarked the International Tennis Federation and Sharapova had agreed to defer the decision that had been due to be issued by next Monday. It was also remarked by CAS that both parties asked for more time to prepare their cases and also cited “scheduling conflicts” with a verdict now expected by September 19. Both parties previously had agreed to an “expedited procedure” allowing the CAS to issue a ruling this month and decide on the ban that could have made Maria eligible for the Olympics in August.

In a statement, the CAS said the parties have agreed not to expedite the appeal due to the parties requiring additional time to complete and respond to their respective evidentiary submissions, and several scheduling conflicts.  Sharapova’s lawyer, John Haggerty, remarked the decision was by mutual agreement and will give Maria’s team additional time to prepare its case. Haggerty added CAS is the court of final appeal and this extension will be helpful and also commented that we are hopeful Maria’s suspension will be reduced, but in all cases, these additional two months will not impact our expectations of what can be achieved.

Sharapova was named as one of four Russian players to compete in the women’s singles in Rio Olympics alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Daria Kasatkina. In her absence, Sharapova’s place will now be taken by Ekaterina Makarova, the fifth-ranked Russian woman.

Last month, Sharapova filed an appeal to reduce or overturn the suspension imposed by the world governing body of lawn tennis. Sharapova failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open and admitted to using Meldonium, which is a banned substance under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code since the start of this year. Maria Sharapova was suspended from playing tennis for a period of two years on June 8, 2016 by the ITF. This was despite Maria claiming that she took the drug before it was banned and for health reasons only on the recommendation of her doctor over a period of ten years.

A five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player lost all ranking points and prize money she earned in Melbourne. Maria termed the decision of the ITF to ban her for two years “an unfairly harsh” punishment. The ban on Sharapova is due to end on Jan. 25, 2018, which would keep her out of eight Grand Slam tournaments, along with the Olympics.

Maria was the 2004 Wimbledon champion at age 17 and took no. 1 in the rankings at 18; U.S. Open champion at 19 and became Australian Open champion at 20. The former No. 1-ranked player is one of 10 women in tennis history with a career Grand Slam and was named one of the “100 Greatest of All Time” by Tennis Channel in March 2012. Maria was named highest paid female athlete in the world for 11 consecutive years by Forbes and earned US$285 million including prize money since she turned pro in 2001.

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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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Sunday 22, May 2016

  Sharapova Could End Career After Doping Hearing

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Russian Tennis Federation head Shamil Tarpishchev has remarked it is unlikely tennis star Maria Sharapova would get a relief from an International Tennis Federation (ITF) anti-doping hearing in London on Wednesday.

The president of the Russian tennis federation said Maria may not play again after she tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium. Later, Tarpishchev said he only said that she can’t play now because no ruling on her case has been issued.

The five-time grand slam champion stunned the world in March when she announced she had returned a positive test for Meldonium, the Latvian-made heart medication that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) banned list from January 1.

Meldonium is a drug used for treating Ischemia and only distributed in Baltic countries and Russia. Meldonium, which improves exercise capacity in athletes, is not authorized in the rest of Europe and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States.

In April this year, WADA admitted there was a lack of scientific certainty on how long Meldonium takes to be completely excreted. It was previously believed that the substance should be out of the system of an athlete within days but WADA now believes it could be present in long-term users, in trace amounts, for weeks, if not months. This finding prompted WADA to issue new guidance that samples collected before 1 March below a certain concentration of Meldonium could be discarded, as the athlete might be able to prove they had stopped taking it in 2015.

WADA’s amnesty to athletes will not help Maria as she had admitted taking it throughout January. Sharapova now needs to convince an International Tennis Federation panel that there were health reasons as also told by her lawyer John Haggerty. The lawyer remarked Maria did use the substance but only on her doctor’s advice, throughout January. In March, Haggerty referred Maria should qualify her for a backdated therapeutic use exemption (TUE), or sick note.

Sharapova admitted she had been taking the substance on orders of her doctor for 10 years and had failed to note that it had become a banned substance until hearing of her failed test at the first grand slam of the year. The world’s highest-paid sportswoman was provisionally suspended on March 12 pending the hearing. Sharapova has lost a number of her lucrative sponsorship deals and hopes she would be allowed to play again.

he maximum punishment available is four years but it is believed she would get a lenient ban between six and 12 months, which would start from the date of her provisional suspension on 12 March. However, this would mean Maria missing out on the remaining grand slams this season, including Wimbledon, and the Rio Olympics.

The Russian professional tennis player, who is ranked world No. 9 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), is one of ten women, and the only Russian, to hold the career Grand Slam. Sharapova’s 35 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles include two at the French Open and one each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

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