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Russian Tennis Federation chief still hopes Sharapova will take part in Olympics

April 12, 19:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Early in March, Sharapova announced that her 2016 Australian Open blood sample contained meldonioum, which the World Anti-Doping Agency had blacklisted as a prohibited formula as of January 1, 2016
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© EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

MOSCOW, April 12 /TASS/. Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, hopes that tennis player Maria Sharapova, who has admitted to doping use, will be able to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, the Russian Olympic Committee said on its website.

"There are more contenders for the Olympic Games participation than there are places in the Russian national women’s tennis team. But it is only Svetlana Kuznetsova who can be absolutely confident. We also hope that Maria Sharapova will still be able to participate in the games," Tarpishchev said.

Early in March, Sharapova announced that her 2016 Australian Open blood sample contained meldonioum, which the World Anti-Doping Agency had blacklisted as a prohibited formula as of January 1, 2016. The formula refers to S4 class in the WADA list (hormones and metabolism modulators).

Athletes use meldonium (mildronate) to strengthen 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. Its consumption by athletes during and between competitions has been classified as violation of anti-doping rules as of January 1, 2016.

Sharapova was temporarily suspended from tennis competitions as of March 12. She received a letter of notification about a positive doping test on March 2. 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.

Tarpishchev told TASS late in March that the hearing of Sharapova’s doping case might be postponed until June.

Sharapova is the winner of five Grand Slam tennis tournaments. She has also won a Federation Cup final as part of the Russian national team. She is also a woman singles silver medalist at the London Olympic Games. All in all, Sharapova has won 38 WTA tennis tournaments, including 35 in singles. She is 7th in the WTA rankings.

The 2016 Olympic Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5-21.

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