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WADA May Announce Partial Amnesty for Meldonium-Positive Athletes
13.04.2016 15:26
WADA May Announce Partial Amnesty for Meldonium-Positive Athletes
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The world Anti-Doping Agency backed down on its requirements towards meldonium, a substance that many Russian athletes tested positive for.

      According to WADA’s statement, the presence of less than one microgram of meldonium in doping samples in tests conducted on athletes before March 1, 2016 is acceptable.

      Meldonium was placed on WADA's list of prohibited substances on Jan. 1, 2016 while athletes were informed of the decision as early as in the autumn of 2015.

      One of its main uses is to treat ischaemia, a heart condition, and many of the Russian athletes say it’s harmless and compare its effect to that of a vitamin. It has been praised as one of the brainchildren of the Soviet defense industry. Produced and invented in Latvia, it is mainly distributed in Baltic countries and Russia. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and is not authorised in the rest of Europe.

      Wada found “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance” by virtue of carrying more oxygen to muscle tissue. The decision to add meldonium to the banned list was approved on 16 September 2015, and it came into effect on 1 January 2016. Wada had spent the previous year monitoring the drug before adding it to the banned list, according to its official statement.

      “WADA is aware of the ongoing, and highly publicized, case concerning tennis player, Maria Sharapova. As is our normal process, and in order to protect the integrity of the case, WADA will refrain from commenting further until a decision has been issued by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Following that, WADA will review the reasons for the decision and subsequently decide whether or not to use its independent right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” ran the statement.

      The drug was also mentioned in the latest investigative documentary on Russian doping involvement by the German Hajo Seppelt. Meldonium is classed as an S4 substance under the Wada code, which addresses hormone and metabolic modulators. Sharapova said she had been taking the drug for 10 years and failed to read the WADA memo sent out to warn athletes of the changes in the prohibited substances list. According to the latest reports, about 99 athletes have tested positive for the drug, including Ukrainian biathletes, a Russian cyclist, volleyball player, a speed skater, two short track skaters and a female ice dancer.



Author: Mikhail Vesely


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