Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Three more athletes have tested positive for meldonium, all of which claim to have stopped taking the drug prior to its prohibition on 1 January, when the 2016 Prohibited List came into effect. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recently recommended that anti-doping organisations do not ban athletes who can prove they stopped taking the drug prior to 1 January.
‘Mireia Lavric, a member of the 4x400m team that won a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, has returned a positive test for meldonium’, read a statement from the Romanian athletics federation (FRA). Its President, Ion Sandu, told ProSport that Lavric had stopped taking meldonium in December, before it was banned by WADA. Sandu also said that the FRA only realised on 7 March, the day that tennis player Maria Sharapova revealed a positive meldonium test, that meldonium was on WADA’s Prohibited List.
Meanwhile, European light-heavyweight boxing champion, Igor Mikhalkin, has tested positive for meldonium. “It is true that I have recently taken Meldonium”, he told WorldBoxingNews. “Until a few months ago that was allowed, and absolutely consistently in Russia. I did not realise that it is now forbidden. I had stopped it anyway, but apparently it takes a long time until it is completely degraded from the body.”
Czech wrestler Petr Novak has also tested positive for meldonium, reports the Associated Press. It is understood that Novak stopped taking the drug before he tested positive in January this year.
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