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MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Russian Sports Ministry supports the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for approaching the problem of meldonium not on formal grounds.
"The Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation supports and welcomes WADA for approaching the problem of meldonium not on formal grounds - immediately punishing all athelets, but instead demonstrated an intention to understand the situation by launching research clarifying the peculiarities of meldonium leaving the athletes’ bodies," the ministry said in a statement published on its official website on Wednesday.
"After preliminary results of the research, WADA sent recommendations to all anti-doping agencies allowing to make fair decisions based on the real guilt of an athlete. Thus WADA demonstrated an impartial and objective approach to fighting against doping," the sports ministry added.
WADA said earlier 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 drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016. 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.
The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators). Meldronate is freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.