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Russian anti-doping agency timely warned sports federations on meldonium ban — executive

March 21, 18:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Considering their official status, the doctors had to pass on this information to their teams, a senior Russian sports official told TASS
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© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) had in time informed all national sports federations about the inclusion of drug meldonium (mildronate) in the international list of substances prohibited for use by athletes, a senior Russian sports official told TASS on Monday.

"RUSADA had officially and timely notified doctors of all sports federations that meldonium would be on the list of banned substances starting January 1," Alexander Kravtsov, the head of the Russian national teams’ Training Center, said in an interview with TASS.

"Considering their official status, they [the doctors] had to pass on this information to their teams," Kravtsov said after asked to comment on the developing doping abuse with Russia’s titled swimmer Yulia Efimova.

Russia’s four-time world swimming champion Efimova announced earlier on Monday that her doping samples had tested positive for meldonium. She added, however, that no one had notified her of the inclusion of this preparation into the list of substances prohibited from January 1, 2016.

Efimova, who is Russia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, the four-time world champion and many times winner of European tournaments, has already been once under suspension for doping abuse.

She was deprived of five medals at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in October 2013.

In 2014, she was issued a 16-month ban after testing positive for a banned substance (steroid DHEA).

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

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.

Overall, 102 athletes have already tested positive for meldonium. The names of 15 athletes suspended for the use of the banned preparation are already known. They include 10 Russians. These are speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Ekaterina 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 TASS has learnt, this substance has been found in the doping samples of Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, Russian athletes Nadezhda Kotlyarova, Olga Vovk, Gulshat Fazletdinova and Andrey Minzhulin and Greco-Roman wrestlers Evgeny Saleev and Sergey Semenov.

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