Sharapova’s doping ban reduced to 15 months by CAS
Maria Sharapova is all set to return to play tennis in April 2017. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova’s two-year suspension over doping to 15 months.
She can return to the sport starting April 26 next year, President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev said, reports Tass. “It is good that the suspension term has been reduced,” Tarpishchev said. “They (CAS) decided to uphold our appeal since Sharapova is a clean athlete. “It will depend completely on her whether she will be able to return to her previous level of playing,” the RTF chief said. “However, we want her to play for the national team and win the next Olympic Games.”
Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS on June 9 against the two-year suspension, which was imposed on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) tribunal over anti-doping violations. Due to the imposed ban, the former No.1 had to miss the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In early March, Sharapova announced that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug Meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, she was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities. Sharapova hoped ITF would draw conclusions following her suspension.
“I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last ten years was no longer allowed,” a statement posted on her Facebook account said. “But I also learned how much better other Federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where Mildronate is commonly taken by millions of people.”
“Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other Federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through,” Sharapova added. The drug Meldonium was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016.
The presence of the Meldonium in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions then became a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators). WADA announced on April 13 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.