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Sports minister says meets heads of federations on regular basis

April 02, 16:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier, the WADA said that meldonium had been found in 123 blood samples since January 1. According to TASS information, at least 24 Russian athletes are suspected of meldonium use
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© Sergey Savostianov/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. Russia’s Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko at least once a week has meetings with federations’ heads, which are devoted to anti-doping policies.

He told TASS on Saturday: "The situation around meldonium is not as simple as it may seem."

"We are working now to coordinate the situation, as it is inadmissible to allow punishments for the innocent, this is most important," he said. "I regularly, on a weekly basis, have meetings with leaders of the Russian sports federations, and we offer assistance to them - organizational, legal."

Earlier, the World Anti-Doping Agency said that meldonium had been found in 123 blood samples since January 1. According to TASS information, at least 24 Russian athletes are suspected of meldonium use. They include tennis player Maria Sharapova, swimmer Yulia Efimova and speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov.

Athletes use meldonium (mildronate) to increase endurance to physical strains during training sessions as well as for easing emotional, nervous and psychological stresses at competitions. The formula is used for preventive treatment of heart problems in the Commonwealth of Independent States. WADA blacklisted meldonium as a prohibited drug as of January 1, 2016. The presence of this formula in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is now a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

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