Russia minister to oversee Meldonium cases of athletes

Moscow, March 20 (IANS) Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said he would be personally overseeing each case of reported Meldonium drug abuse by the Russian athletes.

“I will be keeping all of these cases under my personal control,” Mutko said on Saturday, reports Tass.

“Each case is individual and we will be dealing separately with each of them.”

“However, the problem of Meldonium touched not Russia only, but other countries as well,” he said.

“About 100 cases were registered worldwide. We have to unite our efforts. The most important is to put an end to this story. I hope that all athletes are well informed.”

The drug Meldonium, also known as Mildronate, was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016.

Russian sports was last week hit by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for the banned substance.

After the drug was included in WADA’s list of banned substances, a number of Russian athletes tested positive for it.

Those who have proved to have used Meldonium since are cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, tennis player Maria Sharapova, skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, volleyball player Aleksandr Markin and biathlete Eduard Latypov.

The number of athletes from Russia as well as worldwide testing positive for Meldonium is increasing steadily.

The presence of Meldonium in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

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