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Russian Paralympic athletes may have positive drug tests — official

March 18, 12:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW
However, the Russian Paralympic Committee has been doing everything possible to prevent use of banned substances, its president says
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© Vladimir Smirnov/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. President of the Russian Paralympic Committee (PCR) Vladimir Lukin does not rule out banned meldonium may be found in doping probes of the Russian Paralympic athletes.

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.

As of now, there are no records about meldonium found in probes of Paralympic athletes.

"Regretfully, I cannot guarantee the Paralympic team would not have any excesses — we live in the same environment," the official said. "Paralympic athletes work and train under the conditions our ‘senior brothers’ have, so to say. Many of them have the same coaches, sometimes they use the same training facilities, the same doctors. Thus, it is impossible to say we may guarantee a sealed environment for ourselves. Cases of the kind are quite possible. Cases of taking banned substances have been registered with us, too."

However, he said, the organization has been doing everything possible to prevent use of banned substances.

"Merely at every meeting of the executive committee, of the working group we are working with coaches, doctors and athletes," he said. "We are working very actively. How much effective is that work? Everything depends on three persons: the athlete and his or her stamina, the coach and the doctor. We are doing everything to make sure there is no doping in the Paralympic sports. But there are no absolute guarantees. If something happens, we shall inform about it openly."

The recent news is about Russia’s swimming star Yuliya Yefimova, who has tested positive for meldonium. On Thursday, a source told TASS about a positive probe of Russia’s Olympian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeyeva.

Athletes use meldonium (mildronate) to increase resistance to high strenuous activity and physical strain during training sessions as well as for easing emotional, nervous and psychological stresses at competitions. The formula is also used for preventive treatment of heart problems predominantly in the Commonwealth of Independent States. WADA blacklisted meldonium as a prohibited drug as of January 1, 2016. The formula refers to S4 class in the WADA list (hormones and metabolism modulators).

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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