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WADA names acceptable concentration of meldonium in doping tests

April 13, 2016, 10:35 UTC+3

Thus, many Russian athletes having tested positive for meldonium may avoid punishment

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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

OTTAWA, April 13. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Wednesday the meldonium concentration of below 1 µg/ml in a doping test of an athlete carried out before March 1, 2016 is permissible.

"Cases where the concentration is below 1 µg/ml and the test was taken before 1 March 2016 are compatible with an intake prior to January 2016. If the anti-doping organization finds that the athlete could not reasonably have known or suspected that the substance would still be present in his/her body on or after 1 January 2016, then a finding of no fault or negligence may be made," the WADA statement says.

The investigation will continue against those athletes who admit to having taken meldonium on or after 1 January 2016 or if there is other evidence that the substance was taken after 1 January 2016. This also refers to the cases if the concentration is above 15 µg/mL, representing recent intake of meldonium, and if the concentration is between 1 µg/mL and 15 µg/mL and the doping control was undertaken on or after 1 March 2016, according to the statement.

"If the concentration is between 1 and 15 µg/mL and the test was taken before 1 March 2016, given that the results of ongoing excretion studies are needed to determine the time of the ingestion. If the concentration is below 1 µg/ mL and the test was taken after 1 March given that the results of ongoing excretion studies are needed to determine the time of the ingestion," it says.

The decision on the provisional suspension of athletes in these two cases is up for the federations. They have the right to either leave in force the provisional suspension until the excretion studies are completed or lift it. In the second case, "the athlete shall be informed that if it is later established based on the results of the excretion studies that he/she did take the drug on or after 1 January 2016, all the results during the period in which the provisional suspension is lifted may be cancelled and prizes returned."

Meldronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription. According to WADA’s data, a total of some 158 doping samples worldwide tested positive for meldonium, including at least 31 Russian athletes. Among them are tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic medalist in swimming Yulia Efimova and Olympic medalist in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov.

Russian athletes' positive meldonium probes

Russian track-and-field athlete Nadezhda Kotlyarova told TASS on Wednesday the presence of meldonium in her doping test is just 25 nanograms.

The figure is "significantly less than 1 mcg allowed by the World Anti-Doping Agency," said Kotlyarova, a silver medalist of the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships in 4x400 relay race.

The doping tests of other Russian track-and-field athletes Olga Vovk and Gulshat Fazletdinova also contained an insignificant presence of meldonium - 22 and 50 nanograms, respectively.

According to General Secretary of the All-Russian Volleyball Federation Alexander Yaremenko, the meldonium content in the doping sample of volleyball player of the Moscow Dynamo club and the Russian national team Alexander Markin is less than one microgram, which may allow the player to avoid punishment.

"Volleyball player Markin’s doping sample contains 300 (0.3 mg) nanograms of meldonium", Yaremenko said. In became known in March that the ‘A’ sample of Markin showed the presence of banned substance meldonium in his blood.

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