15 April 2016

Meldonium update: One positive, three acquitted…

Anastasiya Mokhnyuk, who took silver in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Portland at the end of March, has tested positive for meldonium. ‘A few days ago, I received notification that my in-competition doping test, taken in Portland, had returned a positive test for mildronate’, read a statement from Mokhnyuk (pictured) on the Ukrainian athletics federation’s (UAF) internet site. ‘This news shocked me. On this occasion, I sent an explanation to the IAAF Medical Commission, which said that yes, I took the drug mildronate, but for medical purposes […] I have not violated anti-doping rules and my actions were unintentional.’

As clarified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) earlier this week, anti-doping organisations should proceed with cases based on tests conducted after 1 March. As the World Indoors took place from 17-20 March, many of the athletes who tested positive there will still face sanctions. This includes Romanian Mireia Lavric, a member of the 4x400m team that won a bronze medal and Russian light-heavyweight boxing champion Igor Mikhalkin. An updated list of suspensions on the European Boxing Union (EBU) internet site confirmed that Mikhalkin had been suspended from 12 March this year for two years. He has also been stripped of his title, despite his claims that he stopped taking meldonium before the 2016 Prohibited List came into effect on 1 January.

However, as a result of WADA’s clarification, it appears that a number of athletes will escape sanction. Yesterday, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) lifted the provisional suspension of Andrei Rybakov, however said that the results management of his case was ongoing. The Belarus weightlifter took silver medals in the 85kg category at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, and set a world record at the 2007 World Weightlifting Championships with a 187kg snatch.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has also lifted provisional suspensions imposed on skeleton racer Pavel Kulikov and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, reported TASS. An updated list of athletes provisionally suspended after testing positive for meldonium is available below.

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