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Russian rugby player Mikhaltsova says she stopped taking meldonium in September 2015

March 15, 11:12 UTC+3
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Alena Mikhaltsova (right)

Alena Mikhaltsova (right)

© Maria Anderson/TASS

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Russian rugby player Alena Mikhaltsova, who tested positive for the prohibited substance meldonium (mildronate), said on Monday she had stopped taking this substance in September 2015.

"The last time I took mildronate (containing meldonium) was in September. Meldonium was recommended by the club’s physician as a therapy over performance degradation, physical overwork and overstrain. Meldonium was recommended to boost rehabilitation. After the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on September 30 that this substance was officially listed as a prohibited preparation from January 1, 2016, I immediately stopped using it," she said in a statement.

Mikhaltsova said she doubted the reliability of the A doping test results. "I was sure and I am sure now that the substance must have been removed from my organism of this time, so, the A test results give grounds for certain doubts. That is why I referred an inquiry to WADA on the extended report of the test. After receive and study the results, we will take a decision on a B test," she said.

Russian sports was hit last week by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance meldonium.

The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016, after which several Russian athletes tested positive for the banned substance.

The World Rugby suspended Mikhaltsova, a member of the national women’s squad, and her husband Alexei, a member of the national men’s sevens squad, from all competition following notification of potential anti-doping rule violations. Both were subsequently suspended by the Russian Rugby Union.

According to latest reports, about a hundred of athletes have tested meldonium positive. The names of 14 athletes have already been made public. Along with the Mikhaltsovs, they include eight more Russians, namely speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, tennis player Maria Sharapova, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, and volleyball player Alexander Markin.

The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

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