WADA: Meldonium used to enhance performance


Meldonium was banned at the start of the year due to evidence it was being used to enhance performance, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said after Maria Sharapova's bombshell announcement.

The Russian five-time grand-slam champion on Monday announced that she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) of a failed test during the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova revealed she had been legally taking Meldonium for a decade due to health reasons and had not realised that the substance was added to the WADA's list of prohibited substances as of the start of this year.

WADA refused to be drawn into commenting on the 28-year-old's case, but explained the decision to add Meldonium.

"WADA is aware of the ongoing, and highly publicised, case concerning tennis player, Maria Sharapova," a statement read.

"As is our normal process, and in order to protect the integrity of the case, WADA will refrain from commenting further until a decision has been issued by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

"Following that, WADA will review the reasons for the decision and subsequently decide whether or not to use its independent right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We can confirm that Meldonium was added to the 2016 Prohibited List which took effect on 1 January 2016, having previously been on WADA's monitoring program for the duration of 2015.

"Meldonium was added [to the Prohibited List] because of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance."

Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from March 12, the ITF said.