‘Russian athletics specialists objected to Meldonium getting blacklisted’

Monaco, March 11 (IANS) Specialists at the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) objected to the inclusion of the drug Meldonium in WADA’s blacklist but the objections were ignored, member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Mikhail Butov has said.

The drug Meldonium, also known as Mildronate, was included in the list of drugs banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016, after which several Russian athletes tested positive for the substance.

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.

“Our specialists were saying that there is no sense in including this preparation in the prohibited list but their opinion was ignored. Well, now this is a rule that should be followed,” Butov said on Thursday.

Such cases are likely to be repeated without clear-cut explanations from federations, he said.

“In our federation, we were making explanations for coaches and athletes from October, bearing in mind the situation that had emerged two years ago. We have done a big job and, as you can see, there have been no cases of positive tests for meldonium in our track and field athletics. I don’t know whether the same situation was in other kinds of sport but we’ll be confronted with such scandals again and again without explanatory work,” Butov added.

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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