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Official: Positive meldonium tests of two Russian wrestlers come as unpleasant surprise

March 22, 17:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Doping samples of Russia’s Greco-Roman wrestlers Evgeny Saleev and Sergey Semenov tested positive for meldonium
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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Nenad Lalovic, the president of the Union of World Wrestling (UWW), told TASS on Tuesday it was unpleasant news for him today to learn that two Russian wrestlers tested positive for banned performance enhancing drug meldonium.

Sources told TASS earlier in the day that doping samples of Russia’s Greco-Roman wrestlers Evgeny Saleev and Sergey Semenov tested positive for meldonium. Mikhail Mamiashvili, the president of the Russian Wrestling Federation (RWF) later confirmed the news.

"The news that positive doping tests for meldonium were registered in the Russian wrestling was an unpleasant surprise to me since I know very well how Russian wrestlers always stay away from doping," the Serbian president of the international federation of wrestling said in an interview with TASS.

"I do know how [well] the RWF, headed by Mikhail Mamiashvili, works in the sphere of anti-doping," he said. "The Russian wrestling was never involved in something like that as long as the modern Olympic history dates back."

"Therefore, I believe that we should rather not be making hasty decisions and should investigate everything in detail," the UWW president added.

Mamiashvili said on Tuesday that dozens of doping tests among Russian athletes showed positive results for meldonium presence.

"There are dozens of positive results in the team, the atmosphere is gloomy among the athletes," Mamiashvili told journalists. "The numbers are provided according to our researches, which we conducted internally."

However, later in the day, Mamiashvli told TASS that only two, and not dozens, doping samples among the country’s wrestlers tested positive for meldonium.

"As of today, I have information about positive doping tests of two wrestlers - Saleev and Semenov," he said in an interview with TASS. "As for the dozens of athletes I mentioned before, I implied earlier voiced facts about the speed skating, figure skating, swimming and other sports."

"Our sport [of wrestling] enjoys a spotless reputation - there was not a single positive doping test registered between 1952 and the 2012 Olympics in London," he said.

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

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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