Tennis star Maria Sharapova’s ban for failing a drug test at this year’s Australian Open could be lifted after the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) released new findings about the banned substance meldonium.
WADA studies into the amount of time the drug stays in an athlete’s system are still unclear, meaning that athletes who have been provisionally suspended since the drug was placed on the prohibited substances list on January 1, 2016 may be cleared pending further investigation.
“In the case of meldonium, there is currently a lack of clear scientific information on excretion times. For this reason, a hearing panel might justifiably find (unless there is specific evidence to the contrary) that an athlete who has established on the balance of probabilities that he or she ingested meldonium before 1 January 2016 could not reasonably have known or suspected that the meldonium would still be present in his or her body on or after 1 January 2016. In these circumstances, WADA considers that there may be grounds for no fault or negligence on the part of the athlete.”
Despite the findings Sharapova is still awaiting her hearing with the International Tennis Federation to find out how long she will be suspended from playing tennis. – Luke Cullen
Photo of Maria Sharapova by Valentina Alemanno via Wikimedia Commons.