Meldonium comes to rugby as two players test positive for the banned substance
Published 12/03/2016 | 13:03
A couple who play sevens for Russia have been provisionally suspended by World Rugby after testing positive for meldonium.
Husband and wife Alexey Mikhaltsov and Alena Mikhaltsov tested positive for meldonium in out of competition tests in February, rugby union's world governing body announced.
A statement from World Rugby read: "World Rugby has confirmed that it has provisionally suspended two Russia national sevens players from all competition following notification of potential anti-doping rule violations, both involving the prohibited substance meldonium (mildronate).
"Alexey Mikhaltsov, a member of the national men's sevens squad, returned an adverse analytical finding following an out of competition test conducted by World Rugby and was suspended on February 4, 2016.
"Alena Mikhaltsov (nee Bogacheva), a member of the national women's squad, returned an adverse analytical finding following an out of competition test conducted by World Rugby and was provisionally suspended on February 26, 2016."
The World Anti-Doping Agency added meldonium - intended to treat ischaemia, or poor blood flow, but which can improve endurance - to its banned list on January 1.
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova on Monday revealed she tested positive for meldonium at January's Australian Open.
Sharapova is one of 99 athletes to have failed tests since its change of status, WADA said on Friday.
Sevens makes its Olympics debut in Rio this August.