21 April 2016

Meldonium: seven cleared & provisional suspensions lifted

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has decided not to ban seven athletes who tested positive for meldonium, finding that they qualified for the ‘no fault or negligence’ provision in the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, which eliminates any ban. Greco-Roman wrestlers Sergei Semenov and Davit Chakvetadze had their suspensions lifted, as did cyclist Anastasia Chulkova.

Track and Field athletes Nadezhda Kotlyarova, Gulshat Fazletdinova, Andrey Minzhulin and Olga Vovk were also cleared, however their results from the Russian Athletics Championships, which took place from 23-25 February, were cancelled. ‘All athletes and the respective national federations have been notified of this decision’, read a RUSADA statement.

Meanwhile, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) has lifted a provisional suspension imposed on Ukrainian Artem Tyschencko, and has asked its Anti-Doping Hearing Panel to lift a provisional suspension imposed on Russia’s Eduard Latypov. On April 11, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued guidance to anti-doping organisations (ADOs) about how they should proceed when an athlete tests positive for meldonium.

Yesterday, the Ethics Commission of the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) criticised WADA’s handling of the meldonium issue. ‘This inconsistency is a setback in the efforts to make sport clean and drug-free’, read a statement. ‘With this decision, athletes who do not dope and stick to the rules in the spirit of sport, are snubbed. With this approach, WADA itself has done sport a disservice and anti-doping work as been dealt a severe setback. The NADA Ethics Committee regrets these circumstances and considers the actions of WADA – just before the 2016 Olympic and Paralymic Games in Rio – as sending a bad signal.’

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