The biggest sporting news this morning is the press conference held by tennis star Maria Sharapova who announced that she had failed a doping test at the Australian Open in January. But before you start on a rant on sporting stars who doped, you should know the details.
The drug Sharapova got busted for is called Mildronate, a drug Sharapova has been taking for the past 10 years. The drug only came onto the list of banned drugs on 1/1/2016. We don’t know when the drug test was taken but The Australian Open was held between 18–31 January 2016, so the test was done within this period. Not only that, the name of the drug on the banned list is actually “Meldonium”, which is the medical name of Mildronate.
It seems Sharapova was not the only athlete who got caught out by this medical name change. At least 7 other athletes had been caught out by this including Olympic gold medalist ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova and Endeshaw Negesse, the Ethiopian winner of last year's Tokyo Marathon. Tennis, and Maria Sharapova, however is much more high profile and I’m interested to see how the ITF (International Tennis Federation) handles the issue.
Looks like a clear mistake made by several athletes, not just Sharapova, but when it comes to doping, athletes nowadays are guilty till proven innocent. That’s why she will be suspended while the case goes under appeal. I hope she and the other athletes gets clear though I’m not sure if that’s a plus or minus for Maria that she’s just one of a bunch of athletes caught with Meldonium/Mildronate. What’s clear to me however is that the people handling and administering the anti-doping program need to clear stuff up, like the names of the drugs they are banning.
I mean these are athletes; how in the world are they supposed to know all the different names of the drug they take. It’s unfair to ban them over a simple mistake anyone, including myself, could make. They need to tweak the anti-doping program to make things simpler, fairer and more transparent for everyone, including Maria Sharapova.