Sharapova to know meldonium doping fate


Maria Sharapova makes announcement in February that she had tested positive for Melodium. PHOTO/File
Maria Sharapova makes announcement in February that she had tested positive for Melodium. PHOTO/File

Maria Sharapova is due in London on Wednesday to face an anti-doping panel after she was found guilty of taking banned drug meldonium.

The Russian failed a doping test following her semi-final defeat to Serena Williams at the Australian Open in January.

The International Tennis Federation panel could give the five-time Grand Slam winner a ban of four years, though it is believed a six to 12-month punishment is on the cards.

Meldonium was added to World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list on January 1st, though Sharapova admitted she had been taking the substance for 10 years for medical reasons.

Athletes were reportedly told that the drug had been on a watch list for over a year and all national anti-doping agencies were told in October that it would be banned.

It is thought the punishment is not likely to be harsh because Wada admitted in April that scientists were unsure how long meldonium stayed in the system.

SHARAPOVA’S SHOCKING ADMISSION STATEMENT

“Hello everyone, thank you for being here on such short notice. I wanted to let you know that a few days ago I received a letter from the ITF that I had failed a drug test at the Australian Open, I did fail the test and I take full responsibility.

“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my doctor, by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know. It’s 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 the medicine for the past 10 years. But on January 1st the rules had changed and Meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known.”

“I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues that I was having back in 2006. I was getting sick a lot, I was getting the flu every couple of months, I had irregular EKG results, as well as indications of diabetes with a family history of diabetes.

“I thought it was very important for me to come out and speak about this in front of all of you, because throughout my long career I have been very honest and open about many things. I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job every day and I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down, that I have been playing since the age of four a sport that I love so deeply. I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game.”

Report by OmniSport/Reuters

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