Technical mistake likely to be behind Sharapova’s doping case: Safin

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Moscow, April 15 (IANS) A technical mistake may be behind doping abuse findings in regard to Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, former men’s World No.1 Marat Safin has said.

“I believe that Maria is a professional and a team of professionals is working with her. I also believe that some sort of a technical mistake could be behind her situation with Meldonium,” the Russian hall of famer said on Thursday.

Early last month Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles that recent doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug Meldonium in her body system. A decision regarding her sports career in view of doping accusations will be made by the Tribunal of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

“Perhaps she was not warned properly (of Meldonium’s ban). This must be some sort of a technical mistake,” Safin said.

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“It takes Meldonium quite some time to leave the body system, up to three months. Meldonium remained in the body systems of many Russian athletes, who tested positive for the drug. Perhaps, they consumed the drug in September or October.”

“It all depends on the individual physical peculiarities of the body system of an athlete. In some cases Meldonium dehydrated from the body system and in some it did not,” he added.

On Wednesday, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) announced that the concentration of less than one microgram of Meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable and the athlete at the issue was not a subject to any sanctions whatsoever.

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The president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev said on Wednesday that the doping case of Sharapova could be possibly settled after April 21, when he intended to hold a meeting with ITF president David Haggerty. Tarpishchev, however, added that the issue of Sharapova’s participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics remained under question.

The ITF announced in its statement on Thursday that the Tribunal would take into account WADA’s recent recommendations while reviewing Sharapova’s doping-abuse case.

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