Former world’s no. 1 Maria Sharapova has been given a two-year suspension by the International Tennis Federation after failing a drug test on the Australian Open 2016.
Sharapova has admitted to taking meldonium, a drug given to patients with heart disease to help with blood flow. Meldonium was also found to be good for athletes because it can help with endurance and aerobic capabilities, and that is why WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) thinks it could be abused and has recently put it on the banned substances list.
The Russian said that she had taken the drug since 2006 after her family doctor advised her to take it for several health issues. The drug was not part of the banned substance list during that time and was only added to the list on January 1, 2016.
“It is very important for you to understand that, for 10 years, this medicine was not on Wada’s banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine,” said Sharapova.
Every athlete was informed of meldonium being added to the list via email, and Sharapova said that she and her team were not able to check it before the Australian Open 2016.
Sharapova also said that she only knew the substance as mildronate and was not aware that it was also called meldonium.
The suspension will be effective until March 2018. However, Sharapova said in her statement that she will be appealing to the ban.
“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” stated Maria.
Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Maria Sharapova