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Another two Russian athletes suspected of using meldonium — source

March 21, 10:17 UTC+3
According to sources, Russian track-and-field athletes Gulshat Fazletdinova and Andrey Minzhulin have tested positive for meldonium
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Gulshat Fazletdinova

Gulshat Fazletdinova

© Harry Engels/Getty Images, archive

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Russian track-and-field athletes Gulshat Fazletdinova and Andrey Minzhulin have tested positive for meldonium, two sources familiar with the situation and not related to each other told TASS on Monday.

Minzhulin is the winner of men’s 5000-meter run during Russia’s winter championship and Fazletdinova was eighth in women’s 5000-meter run during the same tournament.

Earlier on Monday, a source told TASS that in addition to track-and-field athlete Nadezhda Kotlyarova, a silver medalist of the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships in 4x400 relay race, who has tested positive for meldonium, three more track-and-field athletes are suspected of meldonium use. The athletes passed all the doping tests during Russia’s winter championship in February.

On Sunday, Kotlyarova’s personal coach Sergey Vorobyov told TASS that she failed a doping test. Immediately after receiving the information about the positive test for meldonium she made a decision on opening of the "B" sample.

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.

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on 16 September 2015 effective starting 1 January 2016; it was previously on WADA's list of drugs to be monitored. WADA considers the drug to be a "metabolic modulator", similar to insulin. A December 2015 study in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis argued that meldonium "demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) functions."

According to latest reports, more than a hundred of athletes have tested meldonium positive. The names of 15 athletes have already been made public. Along with Kotlyarova, they include ten Russians, namely tennis player Maria Sharapova, rugby players Alena and Alexey Mikhaltsovs, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, and volleyball player Alexander Markin.

Apart from that, Russian swimmer Yulia Yefimova has been suspended from competitions for violation of anti-doping rules. According to TASS information, she also tested positive for meldonium. On Thursday, a source told TASS, Russian bobsled racer Nadezhda Sergeyeva tested positive for meldonium.

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