The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said that the concentration of banned drug Meldonium below 1 microgram in a doping test of an athlete carried out before March 1 is permissible.”Cases where the concentration is below 1 µg/ml and the test was taken before 1 March 2016 are compatible with an intake prior to January 2016. If the anti-doping organization finds that the athlete could not reasonably have known or suspected that the substance would still be present in his/her body on or after 1 January 2016, then a finding of no fault or negligence may be made,” the WADA statement said.
The investigation will continue against those athletes who admit to having taken Meldonium on or after 1 January, 2016, or if there is other evidence that the substance was taken after 1 January 2016.
This also refers to the cases if the concentration is above 15 microgram, representing recent intake of Meldonium, and if the concentration is between 1 and 15 microgram and the doping control was undertaken on or after 1 March 2016, according to the statement.
“If the concentration is between 1 and 15 µg/mL and the test was taken before 1 March 2016, given that the results of ongoing excretion studies are needed to determine the time of the ingestion. If the concentration is below 1 µg/ mL and the test was taken after 1 March given that the results of ongoing excretion studies are needed to determine the time of the ingestion,” it said.
The decision on the provisional suspension of athletes in these two cases is up for the federations. They have the right to either leave in force the provisional suspension until the excretion studies are completed or lift it.
In the second case, “the athlete shall be informed that if it is later established based on the results of the excretion studies that he/she did take the drug on or after 1 January 2016, all the results during the period in which the provisional suspension is lifted may be cancelled and prizes returned.”
Meldonium is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.
According to WADA’s data, a total of some 158 doping samples worldwide tested positive for Meldonium, including at least 31 Russian athletes. Among them are tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic medallist in swimming Yulia Efimova and Olympic medallist in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov. (IANS)