MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. The European Handball Federation (EHF) ruled on Friday to annul silver medals of the 2017 European Championship of three players from the Russian women’s national youth handball team (under-19) for violations of anti-doping regulations.
Various media outlets reported earlier in the day that the EHF ruled to retract silver medals from the whole team, but federation’s Head of Media and Communications J.J. Rowland specified to TASS later that only three players, who were caught violating anti-doping rules, were ordered to return medals and their results were annulled.
Doping samples of three players from the Russian team, namely Antonina Skorobogatchenko, Maria Duvakina and Maria Dudina, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
The players at the issue have been suspended from all competitions for the period of 20 months.
According to the EHF decision "all three players will be suspended for a period of 20 months from participating in any handball activities starting from the date of the collection of the samples."
"The period of provisional suspension imposed on 12 September 2017 will be credited," the EHF statement reads.
"All results obtained by the players, including the silver medal at the 2017 EHF Women’s EURO 19, are disqualified, the medal from this championship is thus forfeited," according to the statement.
The EHF stated that doping samples provided by three players tested positive for banned performance enhancing drug meldonium.
Lev Voronin, the director general of the Russian Handball Federation (RHF), told TASS earlier that the federation would be appealing the decision of the EHF to strip the whole team of the European Championship’s silver.
"We will be definitely appealing this decision and our lawyers are already working on it," Voronin said. "A case was launched against the federation as well but it is too early to speak of sanctions."
The EHF announced earlier that "legal proceedings have also been initiated against the Handball Federation of Russia with a decision expected in the next few months."
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 medication freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without a doctor’s prescription.