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Russian anti-doping agency suspension affected meldonium preventive practice — official

March 10, 13:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to RUSADA acting head Anna Antselovich, after receiving a WADA notice on the suspension of its activity, agency had to stop active work to warn about the imminent ban on the use of meldonium
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© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. Restrictions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the Russian anti-doping body RUSADA late last year have affected RUSADA’s preventive work with national sports federations to exclude meldonium from use, RUSADA acting Head Anna Antselovich told TASS on Thursday.

RUSADA started to carry out active work from early October last year to warn about the imminent ban on the use of meldonium. However, the Russian anti-doping agency was compelled to stop this work from mid-November after receiving a WADA notice on the suspension of its activity, Antselovich said.

"The restrictions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency on RUSADA in November-December last year could not but have its negative effect on our preventive work with sports federations to warn them about the imminent ban on meldonium (mildronate)," Antselovich said.

"We had no possibility for a certain period of time to hold educative seminars with athletes, coaches and the personnel of national teams. Let me repeat again, all this happened at the time when it was necessary to expedite the work for warning that mildronate would be banned from January 1, 2016. It was important to notify about that but we had no such possibility," the RUSADA acting head said.

The independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the all-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s independent committee that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016. Several Russian athletes have since tested positive. The presence of this formula in the athlete’s blood during and between competition is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs with S4 class on the WADA black list (hormones and metabolic modulators).

Those who have proved to have used meldonium since are cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, tennis player Maria Sharapova, skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, volleyball player Aleksandr Markin and biathlete Eduard Latypov.

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