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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Meldonium: Maria Sharapova tests positive for drug

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Maria Sharapova teased everyone by saying she had a big announcement to make on Monday. The news was not at all what anyone expected.

Sharapova, who has not played since the Australian Open, announced that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open after testing positive for Meldonium.

“I failed the test and take full responsibility for that,” said Sharapova. “I had been taking this medicine for the past 10 years, but on 1 January this became a prohibited substance which I did not know.”

Meldonium was just added to WADA’s banned drugs list at the beginning of the year, as Sharapova said. Since that happened, many athletes have been testing positive for the substance. As of a few days ago, six Georgian wrestlers, an Ethiopian marathon runner, a Russian cyclist and two Ukrainian biathletes have tested positive for the little-known substance.

A recent paper on Meldonium, which is found in a drug called Mildronate, lists its benefits: endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) functions.

Sharapova, 28, is currently ranked No. 7 in the world. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Serena Williams.

Typically when an athlete teases big news, it’s for a good reason, not a bad one like this. This was certainly a shocker.

The good news for her fans is she says she wants to continue her playing career.

“I made a huge mistake. I know I face consequences and I didn’t want to end my career this way. I hope I will be given the chance to play this game again.”

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