Why “Meldonium” put Maria Sharapova to a two-year suspension (and she’s not the only one using it.)
Former world no.1 and one of the highest paid female athletes Maria Sharapova has been suspended in playing in any sanctioned tennis tournaments across the globe. This after the Russian tennis star failed a drug test conducted to her early this year.
The three-man member of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal handpicked by the International Tennis Federation came up with the decision of suspending Sharapova for two years after testing positive for meldonium during the 2016 Australian Open.
What is meldonium?
In Sharapova’s case, the tennis player defended a couple of months ago that she has been using the drug since 2006, citing her health problems. These include magnesium deficiency, heart function irregularities and diabetes.
However, for people who do not have health concerns at all, meldonium can be used to enhance endurance of the body as it increases oxygen uptake. This is also the reason why the anti-doping authorities ban the said drug.
The tribunal, based on what they have gathered, concluded that there was a higher chance that Sharapova used the drug to level up her playing performance in the court, leading to the handing over of the sanction.
What’s more shocking is that, she’s not the only one using it!
Elite athletes are known to be a little extravagant and indulging in their personal lives, and people have no reason for criticizing them for it as long as they are participating in their own fields of sports without any violation to the rule. However, substance intake, especially that which is prohibited by their respective boards is highly unacceptable.
Regardless of that, there are still lot of athletes who just can’t lay their hands off prohibited performance-enhancing drugs. Last March, over 60 athletes along with Sharapova tested positive for the use of meldonium. Some are renowned Olympic medalists, a world champion in speedskating, and a world champion in running.
What are the inclusions from Sharapova’s two-year suspension?
Aside from skipping out on the age deemed as the prime age for Tennis, Sharapova’s punishment also stripped her all ranking points and prize money she had earned in the major tournament in Melbourne. Two years of being out in tennis court means that Sharapova will miss eight Grand Slam tournaments aside from suiting up for Russia in the forthcoming 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games. The sanction will last until January 2018.
The good-looking tennis hitter explained before that she was not aware of meldonium ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency. But the tribunal sticks to its decision, reiterating that whether she knows it or not, she should have followed the protocols.
Despite her misfortune, it appears that Sharapova is not getting sympathy from other athletes especially in the field of Tennis. One of those tennis superstars who supported that decision of two-year suspension for Sharapova is 17-time Grand Slam title holder, Roger Federer.