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Russian tennis star Sharapova’s Olympic substitution deadline set for July 18 — ITF

May 27, 16:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Maria Sharapova, currently suspended over doping abuse accusations, has been included in the Russian women tennis players national Olympic entry list for the 2016 Games in Rio, but may be replaced
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Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova

© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Astapkovich

MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. The Russian tennis authorities will be able to substitute tennis star Maria Sharapova in the 2016 Olympics entry list before July 18 in case she would be disqualified by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the world’s governing body of tennis announced to TASS on Friday.

Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) President Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS earlier in the week that Sharapova, currently suspended over doping abuse accusations, had been included in the Russian women tennis players national Olympic entry list for the 2016 Games in Rio, but would be replaced in case she was disqualified by the ITF.

"Substitutions can be made up until the sport entries deadline of 18 July if the player being substituted is eligible and also within the ranking cut-off for the event," the ITF press service said in a statement. "National federations have to confirm the entry of eligible players to the ITF by 16 June."

In early March, Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, former World’s No. 1 was suspended from all tennis-related activities.

A decision regarding her sports career in view of doping accusations is yet to be made by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tribunal.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on April 13 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.

The ITF announced last month that the Tribunal would take into account recent recommendations made by WADA while reviewing Sharapova’s doping-abuse case.

The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by 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.

The Russian Tennis Federation announced on Wednesday that besides Sharapova three more Russian female tennis players will be on the team’s entry list for the Olympics in Brazil, namely Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavliuchenkova and Darya Kasatkina.

Tarpishchev said earlier in the month that the issue of former World’s No 1 Sharapova would be decided during the French Open tournament, which runs between May 16 and June 5.

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