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Russian athlete Olga Vovk tested positive for meldonium — source

March 21, 11:38 UTC+3
News came on Monday that four athletes (besides Olga Vovk, Nadezhda Kotlyarova, Gulshat Fazletdinova and Andrey Minzhulin) had tested positive for the prohibited drug
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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Athlete Olga Vovk has tested positive for meldonium, two independent sources familiar with the situation told TASS on Monday.

News came on Monday that four athletes had tested positive for the prohibited drug. Along with Vovk, these are Nadezhda Kotlyarova, Gulshat Fazletdinova and Andrey Minzhulin.

They all tested positive for meldonium during winter championships in Russia in February 2016. At the championships, Vovk took the 5th place in women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase.

Russian sports was hit last week by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance meldonium. In mid-November, membership of All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was suspended due to the scandals.

A total of 102 Russian athletes have tested positive for meldonium. The names of 15 athletes have already been made public. Along with Kotlyarova, they include tennis player Maria Sharapova, rugby players Alena and Alexey Mikhaltsovs, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, and volleyball player Aleksandr Markin.

Apart from that, Russian swimmer Yulia Yefimova has been suspended from competitions for violation of anti-doping rules. According to TASS information, she also tested positive for meldonium. On Thursday, a source told TASS, Russian bobsled racer Nadezhda Sergeyeva tested positive for meldonium.

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on 16 September 2015 effective starting 1 January 2016; it was previously on WADA's list of drugs to be monitored. WADA considers the drug to be a "metabolic modulator," similar to insulin. A December 2015 study in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis argued that meldonium "demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) functions.".

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