Man at His Best

Tennis Star Admits Taking Banned Substance

Maria Sharapova took newly-banned substance for 10 years.

BY sam mclean | Mar 8, 2016 | Fitness & Health

At a press conference in Los Angeles Maria Sharapova has admitted she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open. She has been provisionally suspended from the game and could be banned for up to four years.

In her defence she cited that the drug–which she has been taking for 10 years–only recently appeared on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) banned substance list. She said: “For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know.

“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on Wada’s banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years.

“But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known. I failed the test and I take full responsibility for it. I made a huge mistake.

“I let my fans down, I let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four and I love so deeply. I know with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”

Her lawyer was keen to point out that though the drug is now on the banned list, athletes taking it for performance-enhancing reasons have to use it at much higher levels than the amounts Sharapova was taking.

As a first violation, Sharapova is unlikely to receive a four-year ban but at 28 years-old, and with a history of injuries, people will speculate whether we see her on a competitive tennis court again.