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Source: Russia’s titled swimmer Yefimova tests positive for banned drug meldonium

March 17, 4:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The swimmer, who was considered as Russia’s best hope for podium place at this year’s Olympics in Rio, could face a lifetime ban
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Yulia Yefimova

Yulia Yefimova

© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Russia’s swimming star Yulia Yefimova has tested positive for meldonium, the drug recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a source in the All Russian Swimming Federation told TASS.

"The Federation is aware that Yefimova tested positive for meldonium," the source said. The test was conducted in the out-of-competition period.

Yefimova, 23, Russia’s Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, the four-time world champion and many times winner of European tournaments, was given a 16-month ban in 2014 after testing positive for a banned substance (steroid DHEA).

The swimmer, who was considered as Russia’s best hope for podium place at this year’s Olympics in Rio, could face a lifetime ban for another violation of anti-doping rules.

Some 100 athletes have tested positive for meldonium this year, according to the latest reports. The names of 14 athletes have been revealed. Ten Russians are among them: 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, volleyball player Aleksandr Markin and rugby players Alexey and Alena Mikhaltsov.

Meldonium belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators). In sports, meldonium (mildronate) is used to enhance the human body’s endurance and ability to resist high physical strain during training and nervous and psychological stress during competitions. In the former Soviet states, the drug is used to prevent damage to the heart during high-intensity exercise. Since January 2016, the presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules.

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