More Russian athletes may be banned for doping, says government

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Moscow, March 8 (IANS) More Russian athletes may be disqualified from international games for using banned drugs amid the latest revelation of doping among Russian sports stars, the country’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Tuesday.

On Monday, former tennis World No.1 Maria Sharapova announced in Los Angeles that she was informed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January, reports Xinhua.

The 28-year-old Russian tennis star said the test found her positive to a substance called Mildronate, which the five-time grand slam champion has been taking in the last 10 years for health issues.

Mildronate is also known as Meldonium, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium. It was added to the prohibited list from January 1, this year.

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“I think, unfortunately, several more cases may take place … Many athletes took this substance,” Vitaly Mutko said.

Also on Monday, Russian ice dancer Yekaterina Bobrova was banned from the forthcoming World Figure-Skating Championships in the United States after meldonium had been found in her blood test.

However, Mukto said the disqualification of Russian athletes over the use of the banned drug would not affect the participation of Russia in Rio 2016.

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