Maria Sharapova has been provisionally banned from tennis after she on Monday admitted of failing a drug test at the Australian Open.
Sharapova tested positive of a drug called meldonium which she has been using under the name mildronate since 2006 for health reasons.
Sharapova 28,says she was unaware of the difference in the name of the drug and the fact that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s had issued a ban on the substance until she received a letter notifying her of the positive test 10 days ago.
Sharapova claimed she was prescribed meldonium after she was found to be having irregular heartbeat and the history of diabetes in her family.
“evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance”.
Sharapova added, “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.”
The ITF said Sharapova, who now faces a ban from the sport, had been informed of the positive test on 2nd March and she will be provisionally suspended from 12 March.
The matter is now in the hands of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and its standard procedures.
WRITTEN BY COLLETA JUMA