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Sports ministry to comment on Russians’ doping cases after probes are over

March 08, 16:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Ministry of Sports informs: in compliance with the Russian and international anti-doping legislations officials cannot comment on any details, before investigations are over
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Russian Ministry of Sports Vitaly Mutko

Russian Ministry of Sports Vitaly Mutko

© Sergey Fadeichev/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, March 8. /TASS/. Russia’s Ministry of Sports will not comment on the situation with Russian athletes, in whose probes were found banned substances, prior to end of investigations and decisions from anti-doping organizations.

On Monday, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles that the Meldonium drug, banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since January 1, 2016, had been found in her doping test.

"Following many requests from the media to give comments on situations around Russian athletes, in whose probes were found banned substances, the Ministry of Sports informs: in compliance with the Russian and international anti-doping legislations officials cannot comment on any details, including personal information, before investigations are over and respective decisions of anti-doping organizations are presented."

Sharapova said the International Tennis Federation had informed her in a letter in early March that she had failed her drug test.

She said WADA had notified her of the planned changes, but she had not noticed that meldonium was allowed no longer.

"I failed the test and take full responsibility for that. I received an email [December 22, 2015] from WADA about the changes happening to the banned list, and you can see prohibited items, and I didn't click on that link," Sharapova said.

Meldonium is a drug for heart problems and blood flow that got prohibited by WADA at the beginning of 2016. For its use the tennis player could be suspended for up to four years.

"I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor. A few days ago, after I received the letter, I found out that it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know. It's very important for you to understand that for 10 years, this medicine was not on WADA's banned list, and I had been legally taking the medicine," Sharapova told journalists.

"I was getting sick very often, and I had a deficiency in magnesium and a family history of diabetes, and there were signs of diabetes. That is one of the medications, along with others, that I received," she said.

"I know many of you thought I was retiring," the tennis star said. "But if I was ever going to announce my retirement, it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet."

Six months ago, WADA warned meldonium would be banned due to "evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance."

On Monday reports said Russian figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova’s doping test also discovered the banned substance.

In early February, meldonium was found in the doping test of Russian bicycle racer Eduard Vorganov.

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