Saturday 1 October 2016

Maria Sharapova fails drug test - but what is meldonium?

Published 08/03/2016 | 07:56

Maria Sharapova speaks to the media announcing a failed drug test after the Australian Open during a press conference yesterday at The LA Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Maria Sharapova speaks to the media announcing a failed drug test after the Australian Open during a press conference yesterday at The LA Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drug test for meldonium at January's Australian Open.

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Here, we take a look at the substance involved.

  • Meldonium is also known as Mildronate, the name by which Sharapova knew the drug having taken it since 2006.
  • It is commonly used to treat angina, other heart problems and diabetes. Sharapova referred to a family history of diabetes during her announcement.
  • Meldonium was only added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list from the start of 2016. However, it had been on the organisation's monitoring programme throughout 2015.
  • A WADA spokesman wrote on Twitter on Monday that: "Meldonium was added to Prohibited List because of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance." Studies have indicated the drug can increase an individual's capacity for physical exertion.
  • The drug is manufactured by Latvian company Grindeks and widely exported to Sharapova's homeland of Russia and several neighbouring countries. However, it is not approved for use in the United States, where the tennis player has her base.
  • Sharapova was the second Russian sportswoman to announce a positive test for meldonium on Monday. Figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova confirmed to Russian agency R-Sport that she had tested positive at January's European Championships, and was ruled out of the World Championships as a result.

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