Russia said the decision by the international anti-doping agency WADA to ban the drug meldonium use holds “political overtones”, and that it will investigate whether positive tests among its sports stars could have been “provocations”.
Russia’s R-Sport agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich saying that law enforcers were already inspecting how meldonium had got into the bodies of Russian skaters. He said each case would be examined to establish whether competitors were to blame or “provocation by unknown persons”, according to R-Sport.
Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances on January 1. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).
Russian sporting figures found to have taken meldonium since the ban came into force include figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov and short-track speed skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova.
Several other Russian sportsmen and women have been found to have taken meldonium including former world No.1 tennis player Maria Sharapova, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova and the volleyball player Alexander Markin.