While it’s still uncertain what the outcome of Maria Sharapova’s meldonium doping case will be, the news is that WADA is not sure how much time it takes for the substance to clear from the human body, therefore there may be grounds for no fault on the part of the suspended athletes, while Russian President Vladimir Putin says that meldonium "was never considered a doping".
Meldonium was added to the list of banned substances on January 1st, but in a recent statement WADA said that it is difficult to know whether an athlete may have taken the substance before or after the date, given lack of scientific information on excretion times. The drug’s manufacturer says that traces of meldonium can be detected even several months after an athlete stops using it, depending on the duration of treatment, dosage and sensitivity of testing equipment.
What’s happening now is that WADA is reconsidering meldonium and athletes who tested positive before March 1 could avoid bans. However, Sharapova still faces a hearing, while her lawyer John Haggerty says that these new developments only prove how poorly WADA handled issues regarding the drug in 2015.
Putin is supporting Sharapova and other 171 athletes whose careers have been put on hold, saying: "Meldonium doesn't influence the result. That's totally certain. It just keeps the heart muscles in good condition under high load." (sources: Reuters, ESPN, photo: Jimmie48)