World anti-doping body denies political motives behind meldonium ban

Moscow, March 15 (IANS) The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) denied on Tuesday that politics was behind its decision to include meldonium in the banned substances list.

On Saturday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that WADA’s decision to ban meldonium was somewhat politically motivated and that Russia would officially request the results of WADA’s investigation into the substance, reports Xinhua.

“WADA strongly denies that the inclusion of meldonium in the 2016 prohibited list was in any way political,” the Russian R-Sport division of RIA Novosti news agency quoted the anti-doping body as saying.

Ten Russian athletes, including former world tennis No.1 Maria Sharapova, have been tested positive for meldonium.

WADA insisted that it had banned meldonium from use by athletes after going through an established process.

“This is a tried and tested process that has existed for many years. There can be no question as to the process which established meldonium as a banned substance as of January 1, 2016,” said WADA.

Meldonium, also known as mildronate and used to treat various heart diseases, has been banned by WADA from this year.

WADA considers meldonium to be a metabolic modulator that increases athletes’ endurance and shortens post-exercise rehabilitation time, as well as enhances central nervous system activation.

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