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Russian women’s youth handball team stripped of Europe’s silver over doping violations

The Russian Handball Federation was also ordered to pay a fine

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. The European Handball Federation (EHF) ruled on Friday to annul silver medals of the 2017 European Championship from the Russian women’s national youth handball team (under-19) for violations of anti-doping regulations, the statement from the federation announced on Tuesday.

On January 19, the EHF ruled to annul silver medals of three Russian handball players and slapped them with 20-month suspensions over abuse of banned performance enhancing drugs. The players at the issue were Antonina Skorobogatchenko, Maria Duvakina and Maria Dudina, and, according to the EHF they tested positive for banned performance enhancing drug meldonium.

"The EHF Court of Handball has released its decision in a case against the Russian Handball Federation following anti-doping infringements of three of its players at the Women’s 19 EHF Euro 2017," the EHF said in its statement on Tuesday. "The federation has been disqualified from the competition and all matches are lost by forfeit. The team’s silver medal from the Women’s 19 EHF Euro 2017 is thus also forfeited."

The European Handball Federation added in its statement that the Russian Handball Federation was also ordered to "pay a fine of 20,000 euros (over $24,600) and is suspended from participation in the next EHF competition of the same category for two years."

"The latter sanction is deferred for a probationary period of two years," the statement said adding that "an appeal against the decision may be filed within seven days."

With the EHF’s decision on Tuesday to cancel results of the Russian women’s national youth handball team (under-19), the silver and bronze medals of the Euro 2017 will now go to the national teams from Denmark and Hungary respectively. Team France was the winner of the 2017 handball tournament.

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.