MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he saw no political context behind a decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to include drug meldonium in the list of the banned performance enhancing drugs.
"I do not believe that the decision of WADA has any political context," Putin said on Thursday during his annual televised Q&A session officially known as "The Direct Line with Vladimir Putin."
"Meldonium was exclusively consumed by athletes from Eastern Europe," he said. "Because the drug at the issue was discovered here, made here and is still being manufactured. It had never been on the doping list."
"However, I do not see any political context here and WADA has already introduced some adjustments to the ongoing situation," the Russian president added.
Putin also said he would fight for fair decisions on Russian athletes.
"I understand that our athletes whom we love very much and hope for their results are in a difficult situation. But we need to be ready for everything. WADA is now revising some of its approaches to the use of meldonium. It is studying both its clinical properties and the specifics of its withdrawal from the body. Of course, we’ll be struggling for the decisions to be fair," Putin said during an annual televised Q&A session in reply to a question by head coach of the Russian national athletics team Yuri Borzakovsky.
The president has also pointed out that he was positive that meldonium has no effects whatsoever improving athletes’ abilities.
"This drug was never among doping substances," the official said.
"This drug certainly has no effect improving performance results of athletes," the Russian president added.
meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016. 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 a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.
According to WADA’s data, a total of some 140 doping samples worldwide tested positive for meldonium, including up to 30 Russian athletes. Among them are tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic medalist in swimming Yulia Efimova and Olympic medalist in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov.
On Wednesday, WADA announced that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable and the athlete at the issue was not a subject to any sanctions whatsoever.